JA Economics for Success

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economics-for-successProgram Overview

JA Economics for Success® is recommended for 7th Grade. the program provides practical information about personal finance and the importance of identifying education and career goals based on a student’s skills, interests, and values. Following participation in the program, students will be able to:

  • Explore their skills, interests, values, and the world of work to make informed education, career, and life decisions.
  • Develop their knowledge of personal finance so they can apply strong financial management skills regardless of their income.

Session Overviews & Objectives

Session One – Mirror, Mirror

Overview: Students make choices to better understand the concept of self-knowledge—the awareness of their skills, interests, and values—as they consider education, careers, and other life choices.


  • Use personal reflection to explain self-knowledge.
  • Apply their skills, interests, and values to help determine a potential career path.

Session Two – Be a Success

Overview: Students learn how to set goals for their financial future. They play the Be a Success Game to see the connection between personal finance, education, and careers.


  • Identify the connection between goal-setting, personal finance, education, and career choices.
  • Apply decision making to education and career choices.

Session Three – Keeping Your Balance

Overview: Students receive Occupation Cards and observe how different jobs provide different monthly salaries. Based on those monthly salaries, students evaluate the opportunity cost when making budget decisions.


  • Recognize that a balanced budget is important for all workers.
  • Define the term income and differentiate between gross and net income.
  • Name ways to balance a budget.

Session Four – Savvy Shopper

Overview: Students examine how consumers pay for goods and services. They discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using debit and credit cards.


  • Identify the differences between debit and credit cards.
  • Explain the advantages and disadvantages of both cards.
  • Recognize the importance of taking personal responsibility for financial decisions.

Session Five – Keeping Score

Overview: Students examine how a credit score is determined and learn about the consequences of a positive and negative credit report.


  • Describe the favorable or unfavorable consequences of a high or low personal credit score.
  • Explain actions that cause a credit score to go up or down.

Session Six – What’s the Risk?

Overview: Students learn that life involves risk and that insurance and personal responsibility help to reduce the financial consequences of loss or injury.


  • Explore the cost and consequence of risk.
  • Explain how insurance provides a method to minimize financial risk.
  • Identify the opportunity cost of having insurance.
  • Assess how personal responsibility plays a part in minimizing risk.

Program Basics

  • Includes a series of six sessions recommended for students in middle school.
  • Average time for each session is 45 minutes.
  • Materials are packaged in a self-contained kit that includes detailed plans for the volunteer and materials for 32 students.
  • Provides practical information about the following key topics: choices and self-knowledge, education and career options, budgeting, using credit, credit score, and financial risk.
  • Session-specific, student-friendly materials included to increase student interaction and emphasize JA’s experiential approach to learning.
  • Correlates well to state social studies, English, and math standards, as well as to the Common Core State Standards in English/language arts and mathematics.

JA Economics for Success enhances students’ learning of the following concepts and skills:

Concepts—Budget, Credit, Credit card, Credit score, Co-pay insurance, Debit card, Decision making, Deductible, Goal setting, Gross income, Higher education, Interest, Interests, Needs and wants, Net income, Opportunity cost, Policy, Premium, Risk, Self-knowledge, Skills, Values, World of work

Skills—Analyzing information, Critical thinking, Inquiry and critical thinking skills, Interpreting data, Math calculations, Oral and written communication, Problem solving, Reading for understanding, Self-assessment, Working in groups and pairs presentation, Oral and written communication, Organizing information, Reading for understanding

Training Videos

Courtesy of Junior Achievement of South Dakota: