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Let’s Talk About “Free”

Let’s Talk About “Free”

By Jed Collins

Talking to schools, you hear a common response when it comes to financial literacy: “We use a free resource.”  

At Money Vehicle, we understand that school budgets are tight, and we will admit that some great free resources cover personal finance. But we really need to value what that word means again.


What “free” means, when it comes to content or resources, is that you receive the material, and that ends the transaction. But there are some questions to answer: 

  • Who is left to adjust the content to focus on their target audience? 
  • Who is left to build a story to engage the student? 
  • Who will connect the dot from this free resource to the next, and who will answer questions when things go wrong?  

The answer: The TEACHERS! 

So, how “free” is something that is going to cost your main service provider hundreds of hours of their time?  

1. Time 

For an experienced teacher, it can take around two hours to prepare for every hour in class. For an inexperienced teacher, let’s say one who just began teaching a new subject, it can be up to four hours for each hour in class! 

If Money Vehicle can cut that time in half, it would save some teachers 80 hours and others an entire week every semester. Also, taking into consideration that virtual learning is always an event away, this can pivot to completely virtual or even asynchronous.  

2. Audience 

Free programs come with sound parts, but assembly is required — assembly intended for a classroom is not guaranteed.  

With attention becoming harder to earn, the resources built with the same terms you used 20 years ago, or that use a message not intended for students today, will most likely see their value reflect its cost.  

When you look at the curriculum designed for a hybrid high school classroom, you can see the value of the program being designed for current students and current educators. Utilizing stories and analogies students will be entertained while engaged in lessons or videos. Money Vehicle allows a student to read a page, watch a short video, complete a student workbook, and then have an exercise, all completed from their desk! Built with the student and teacher in mind.  

3. Service  

Last, but definitely not least, when you consider free programs and assembling a syllabus is what you do when you have questions? When a link doesn’t work, your LMS is malfunctioning, confused about an assignment, or simply just need some much-needed support, who do you turn to?  

Money Vehicle prides itself on giving teachers time back and reducing their stress levels. That is why we have a full onboarding and service team developed to do just that.  

This is not to see there are no great programs out there, free of charge, that can empower people to take control of their finances. This is just a challenge of what comes with “free,” and when schools begin to value financial literacy more.

Check out the Money Vehicle textbook — you can find it here on Amazon. And if you like what you see, you can get more content sent directly to your inbox! Sign up for the Money Vehicle Movement Newsletter!

And check out our white paper: “Strategies for Increasing Financial Literacy Rates Among High School and College Students”

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The Money Vehicle BLOG is a collaborative effort between founder Jedidiah Collins,CFP®
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