The Center for
Mathematics and Quantitative Education at Dartmouth

The Financial Literacy Center Money Matters
The Financial Literacy Initiative at Dartmouth College

A project of the Center for Mathematics and Quantitative Education at Dartmouth and the Financial Literacy Center.



How much will I take home? Based on the first pay stub a new teacher will receive, this module leads the student to understand all of the withheld pay, what it is for, and why it is withheld. In particular, it looks at voluntary contributions to 401K plans and asks students to consider the present and future implications of making small contributions early in the career.

Paddle Your Canoe Based on the typical household budget for a recent college graduate, this module helps students see where the money goes and how to control it. A very basic spreadsheet introduces students to the use of this tool.

You've Got To Hand It To Them Learn the basics of taxation, such as the various types of taxes, how they are collected, what they pay for, and what happens if you do not pay them. A spreadsheet introduces students to the federal income tax deduction.


Understanding Credit Card Offers Based on a typical department store offer of 10% off the price of your purchase for opening a credit card, this module poses the question: Is it a good deal? Students will use online calculators and spreadsheets to explore the workings of interest, various payment strategies, and competing card offers.

Jetta or Jaguar? Buying your ideal car In this module students will compare car purchases, including estimating and budgeting for all related expenses (insurance, repairs, gas), depreciation, and various loan options. A spreadsheet reveals the relationship of principal remaining on a car loan to depreciation, and the "upside down" loan.

Buy, Rent, or Live in a Tent? In this module we explore the process and finances of home purchase, so that students understand the expectations of mortgage lenders as well as the impact of owning house on their own budgets.

Saving and Investing:

Investing in Savings and Bonds This module explores how money grows over time in a savings account, and extends the discussion to savings bonds and treasury bills, which are also conservative mechanisms for growing wealth.

Investing in the Stock Market Buying and selling stocks online is as simple as ordering from an online store. So it is imperative that students understand the stock market—what it is, how it works, the risks and advantages of using it. This module serves as an introduction to buying and selling stock directly using online services.

Investing in Mutual Funds Mutual funds are an alternative to investing directly in stocks or bonds, allowing the consumer to purchase shares of a fund representing a variety of separate investments. This module explains how these work, how fees and other charges vary among them and why you might want to use them.

Planning for Retirement NOW:

Your Parents Will Move In With You! How much money does a couple need to retire? This module leads the students through a set of calculations that mimic those done by financial advisors in search of an answer for their clients.

Saving For Retirement This module asks and answers a simple question. If you want to have a certain amount of money in a certain number of years, how much do you have to invest every year? And how does it depend on the rate of return of your investments? This module allows students to discover the benefits of starting early.