Teaching Financial Literacy

While science, math, and history are vital for academic and career success, many high school graduates lack knowledge of basic money management skills.   Along with other subjects, effective financial education should be rigorous, relevant, meets standards, and have engaging learning experiences. Those teaching personal finance should be well-qualified and supported by adequate resources.

In recent years, financial education is referred to as financial literacy or financial capability.  In the past, these topics were taught in math, social studies, business and, consumer science (previously called home economics) courses.  More recently, an extensive number of free or low-cost financial literacy programs and resources have been developed.  Financial institutions, businesses, government agencies, professional associations, and non-profit organizations have collaborated in this effort.  The National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education, published by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, provides teachers with a guidance.

For additional information on teaching financial literacy, click here.

Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students ask people to describe their definition of “financial literacy.”
  • Have students develop a learning activity to effectively teach financial literacy.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What are considered to be the main elements of financial literacy?
  2. Why is financial literacy important for all students?

Reduced Money Worries

To minimize money worries and achieve greater financial freedom, five steps are recommended:

1.  Budget – create a simple money plan to track income, expenses, and savings. Closely monitor small daily expenses, which can quickly add up to large amounts.

2. Reduce – avoid buying unnecessary and unfulfilling items that pile up and collect dust. Make a conscious choice to reduce your consumption and unneeded spending.

3. Recognize – avoid debt to purchase things that you believe will impress others.

4. Educate – learn as much as you can about wise money management and personal financial planning.

5.  Get started – take action today to spend less, save, and learn more about wise money choices. Your habits will not change overnight, but a small step toward financial security can occur immediately. Consistent action will make a difference.

For additional information on reducing money worries, click here.


Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students create a list of common causes of money worries.
  • Have students prepare a drama with suggested actions for reduced money worries.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What are common actions that can help reduce money worries?
  2. Why do people consistently behave in a manner that creates money worries?

Financial Literacy Month

April was Financial Literacy Month; however, every month should involve efforts to better understand personal financial planning principles and practices. The website 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy offers a wide range of tools and information to help people develop money management skills at every stage of life.

Other resources to provide financial planning assistance include the:

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students talk ask people to describe their definition of “financial literacy.”
  • Have students obtain financial literacy suggestions using online research.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What are the common elements of financial literacy?
  2. How might a person improve their financial literacy?

Dangers of not teaching children about money management

Financial difficulties in a household can create anxiety for children. To minimize these apprehensions, parents should begin communicating about money at an early age to help children grow up to be financially literate adults.  Rather than allowing the youngsters to arrive at their own conclusions, a proactive approach can help the children avoid the mistakes of their parents. Without an open discussion, children will likely grow up lacking financial knowledge.

Suggested actions for developing good money habits among children are:

  • teach them to budget since this is the foundation of successful personal finance.
  • develop wise spending decisions for wise choices and avoiding impulse buying.
  • create an understanding of the rewards of work with a system of work-for-pay chores, which go beyond basic required chores, such as a clean room.
  • develop an appreciation for delayed gratification with saving for a goal.

For additional information on wise money management for children, go to:




Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students research various actions that might be taken to better involve children in family money management decisions.
  • Have students create interview questions that they might ask when trying to determine if parents are teaching their children wise money management habits.

 Discussion Questions 

  1. Describe various problems associated with not involving all household members in family money management activities.
  2. What actions would you take to teach young people about wise money management?