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Module 3 Your Goals: Some Things to Consider

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In addition to your values and what you believe is important in life, there are other factors that can influence your financial decisions and actions. Let’s take a look at some of these factors.

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Teacher's Guide

This lesson plan can be used as a companion to Module 3 of Money and Youth – Your Goals: Some Things to Consider.

Relevant Subjects and Topics:

Economics, Man in Society, Family Studies, Goal Setting, Personal Finance

Background Information:

People often imagine what their lives will be like in the future without actually considering what will be required in order to make those things come true. Great plans of early retirement with traveling, recreational activities and winters in sunny climes frequent our dreams and, sometimes, help us to buffer the trials and tribulations of our current situation. But, as the old adage states, life is what happens while we are busy planning future events. In order to minimize this intrusion on our dreams and maximize the likelihood of realizing our visions, it is necessary to establish a plan and set goals. By doing so, it is possible to gauge our progress and make alterations to our actions as necessary. This gives purpose and direction and helps to put events into a context that provides meaningful direction. This lesson focuses on personal goal setting, exploring various factors which can come into play, perhaps altering those ambitions and goals.


At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Articulate their current life goals
  • Explain the importance of goal setting in reaching those goals
  • Identify some external factors which may affect those plans
  • Explain what is meant by S.M.A.R.T. goals

Time for Implementation:

Two class periods – approximately 60 minutes each

Teaching and Learning Strategies:

As the first part of this lesson deals with personal goals and values the activities will have an individual or pair activity focus.

Period One : 60 minutes

  • Begin the period by asking the students to take a moment and write down how they think their lives and future prospects would be different if they had been born and raised in one of the following countries, rather than living in Canada: Bangladesh, Peru, Finland, China.
  • Get their responses and then conduct a discussion about how the “luck of the draw” about where you live, could give you certain advantages over others.
  • Having established the fact that where you live dramatically affects your “life cycle” focus their attention on the concept of life cycle establishing an understanding that there are various stages that a person goes through during their life.
  • Ask the students to identify what they believe are the major stages of a person’s life.
  • Once they have established the basic stages, indicate to them that a person’s values and goals change as they pass through these stages.
  • As an activity to reinforce this idea, ask the students to take a moment and individually write down their answers to these three questions:
    • How old do you think you will be when you retire?
    • Where do you see yourself living at that stage of your life?
    • What activities will you be involved with when you retire? Why?
  • Have some volunteers share their answers to see the variations and similarities of their visions for the future.
  • Indicate to them that in order to realize these dreams certain things will have to occur – each will have varying degrees of controllability.
  • As general examples of this indicate such things as health, education, planning and dedication to goals.
  • Stress with them the idea that goal setting and dedication to those goals – in other words preparing for the future - will go a long way in helping to materialize those ambitions.
  • At this point, relate to them Aesop’s fable of “The Ant and The Grasshopper” – see “The Ant and The Grasshopper” link below under “Handouts and Additional Resources,”
  • Ask the students through a show of hands whether they are by nature an ant or a grasshopper.
  • Conclude this discussion by stressing the need to establish goals in order to realize your ambitions.
  • Ask the students to write down what goals they might have for the following stages of their life:
    • Currently
    • Upon graduation from formalized education
    • Between the ages of 30 and 45
    • Beyond 45 years of age
  • Allow the students a few moments to complete the task and then pair them up and have them share their stated goals with their partner.
  • Conclude this period of the lesson by having volunteer pairs share their stated goals with the class.

Period Two: 60 minutes

  • Begin this period of the lesson by reminding students that they were discussing their goals at the end of the last period.
  • Inform them that, if those goals are to have greater possibility of being achieved, they should be “S.M.A.R.T.” goals.
  • Explain to them that S.M.A.R.T. goals mean they are:

S – specific as possible

M – measurable so that you can determine if you are making progress

A – achievable in that they are realistic

R – relevant in that they reflect what you think is important in your life

T – time-bound so that they have a definite time by which they should be achieved

  • Have them now look back at what they consider to be the important goals they identified earlier and have them state one in S.M.A.R.T. terms.
  • Have the students give examples once completed.
  • At this point also remind them that in the previous period there had been a brief discussion concerning how external events can intrude on our goals and plans.
  • Divide the class into small groups of four or five students and assign one of the following topics to each group:
    • The Economy
    • Social factors
    • Political factors
    • Technological changes
    • Language and Communication skills
    • Prejudice and discrimination
  • Ask the groups to discuss how their assigned topic could affect the achievement of their personal goals and ambitions.
  • Allow the groups time to discuss the task and then have each of the groups report their decisions.
  • Once they have completed their reports, as a final activity, have them compare their findings to the details outlined on pages 27 to 33 of Money and Youth.



  • The students could hand in their revised S.M.A.R.T. goals for evaluation.
  • The groups could hand in their findings for their assigned topic for evaluation.

Modifications or Suggestions for Different Learners:

  • Some students could relate their goals to another student rather than having to write them down.
  • Students can contribute to the group discussions in a number of different ways. For example, they could be the person who wrote down the decisions, they could give the oral report or they could just contribute to the discussions.

Additional Related Links:

Additional Possible Activities:

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Parent Resources

Why is this important?

Allen Saunders, the writer of the comic strip Steve Roper, wrote in 1957 “Life is what happens to us while we are busy making other plans.” This quote was popularized by John Lennon in his 1980 song Beautiful Boy. But what significance does it have? Life is going to throw things at us and how we handle them certainly affects how our lives will turn out. Another saying, “things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out,” also gives a perspective on life events. But we are more than simply victims of circumstance buffeted from one event to another. We all have dreams and hopes that give our lives meaning and direction. Being responsible for those in our care, we have a great opportunity and duty to help them develop goals and aspirations that will give their lives meaning and direction, leading, we hope, to a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. This module will aid in this by examining some important things to consider when setting those goals.

Ways to engage your child and fun things to do.

Talking about goal-setting can be a rather formal activity if approached solely as an academic exercise, so here are a few more relaxed ways of engaging your child in this topic.
  1. Ask your son or daughter to imagine that they were living in a developing third world country and ask them how they think their life would be different. With this as a backdrop, ask them what they would have as life goals in that situation. Now ask them to compare those goals with the ones they have actually set for themselves.
  2. Relate the fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper and ask them if they are an ant or a grasshopper and to explain how their handling of money supports their answer.
  3. Ask them to imagine that they are now 28 years old. Ask them to describe what they would like their situation to be, including lifestyle. Once this has been done, ask them to explain those things which they are now doing, including handling money, in order to achieve that goal.
  4. Ask them how old they will be when they retire. Have them explain what they will do financially to have that happen.
  5. With all discussions concerning goals, ask them if they have developed S.M.A.R.T. goals – see for an explanation.
  6. Ask your son or daughter to outline their long-term goals. With this in mind, ask them to outline some things that could happen to interfere with those goals and what they might have to do as a result.
  7. Ask your child what they hope to accomplish in the next six months and then in the next 10 years, and then have a talk about the importance of short-term and long-term goals and what they would do concerning any financial issues associated with those goals.

Additional Background and Related Websites and Resources

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