Making money
-- Why is a baseball fly-out like a good check? .... Because neither of them bounces!! -- The first step in your path to financial freedom is to make some money. How much will you need to support yourself in the life to which you have become accustomed (a phrase previously used by fathers to intimidate prospective suitors of their daughters)? Log on to the following site and do the quick "Reality Check" to see if you can take charge of your finances!

Finding a Job

Now that you have some idea what your finances need to be. Let's see if we can match your skills to the workforce and find a job.

To begin, find classified ads/help wanted ads in a newspaper (Palo Alto Daily and San Jose Mercury news are good bets).  Identify a job you would be qualified for.  Write a coverletter to the ad detailed your situation, your past experience and your desire for an interview.  Be sure to give specific information.  Include a resume. Your submission for grading should include: copy of job listing,  your letter and resume and a coversheet noting the pay rate and calculations of a weekly, monthly and yearly income number.

For on-line job listing look to craig's list or San Jose Mercury job listing

Making a Resume
Why is a resume like life? -- you never get a chance to make a second impression! If you don't have a resume yet. Try filling out my sample resume. The formatting should get you started, but feel free to jazz it up in ways that suit you. If you want more help identifying your marketable skills and how to translate your past experiences into resume language use the following worksheets to help you: 1) Fundamental Skills Assessments can help you think about what common professional skills you already have; then the Workplace Competencies Assessment can help you identify how much your current experience translates to workplace experience; and finally, 3) fill out Your Personal Skill Assessment to see how you would describe your skills. These worksheets together should help you develop a resume and a coverletter that successful advocate for your strengths and suitability for the job. (All these forms came from the National Endowment for Financial Education - NEFE.)
Making a budget

Also important to making money is managing/budgeting your money. A budget isn't restrictive like a diet. Rather, the great thing about budgets is that they help you get the things you really want. How? By helping you identify your wants, and providing the resources to plan how to get there.

First link to Young Money and see the top 10 money mistakes students make.

Then, link here to follow through some steps on how to create a budget plan. Once you have formulated your plan, here is a link to a personal budget form created by Microsoft.(They will ask you to accept their licensing agreement, feel free to do so, we are not in violation of their copyright to use it for educational purposes.) If you are using a mac, please go to the following link instead: mac personal budget form


Print all the forms out and submit them with your budget. Make sure your budget has a coversheet explaining your rationale.

The goal is to identify where you spend your money so you can identify if that matches your priorities and values or not. Some approach budgeting with a "penny saved is a penny earned" philosophy, while others believe "why put off until tomorrow what you can pay for today?" Where do your values fall and what are your goals? How about Dennis'? :)


You should also know how taxes affect your budget and your earnings.

Start by taking the IRS tax challenge A quiz from the IRS about tax revenue and spending. How did you do? Are you surprised?! Here is a graphic on the major sources of government revenue (revenue is the money the government makes by collecting taxes.)



Governments spend the money they collect in taxes. The spending covers government programs. One of the expenditures most often in the news, concerns government spending on education. Here is a pie chart for all government spending:


As an aside, if you need help at tax time, the IRS has several downloadable forms to help you calculate your taxes and help you prepare tax forms should you need help. (See

After the guest lecture from Dr. Wechsler you should understand the issues in education facing the two presidential candidates. Remember, while education based on spending is more accurately a local issue, in this election both candidates have platforms addressing education.

Exercise DUE: Friday 10/23 in my box: write a letter to the presidetial candidates about school policy as a concerned CA citizen. Indicate in your letter how your issue would be affected by the budget decisions he will implement and indicate how you believe he should address the issue. For some research on education issues, you might check out the following web site: EdVoice.


One of the payments you will most regularly make will most probably be for insurance (car and health are the most common). Like many aspects of personal finance, insurance purchases balance your own comfort with risk. Risk and your desired return on investment determine the level of insurance you purchase. See how comfortable you are with risk and how much you know about insurance.