Is Personal Finance In Schools Required? Money Matters!

personal finance in schools

Every parent's dream is for their children to grow up to be responsible, successful, and financially independent adults. Money is intertwined throughout adulthood after all.

Yet, thousands of students graduate each year without vital knowledge about money. This begs the question, is personal finance in schools required?

The short answer is it depends. Currently, personal finance education is controlled at the state level. Some states already have requirements today, while others still do not.

Personal finance education in schools can play a vital role in empowering students to make informed financial choices. In addition, financial literacy helps students build a solid foundation for their future financial well-being.

Let's explore just exactly what financial literacy is, where it's currently required in the US, what changes are in store, the benefits, and more.

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What Is Financial Literacy?

Here are the basics. Financial literacy refers to the knowledge, skills, and understanding of basic financial concepts and practices. It enables individuals to make informed and effective decisions regarding their personal finances. In other words, it means having fundamental personal finance knowledge and skillsets.

Financial literacy involves key topics such as :

When you lay it all out, financial literacy is clearly a fundamental life skill. However, it is often overlooked or just left to chance. Sadly, the side effects of not teaching our youth about personal finance are costly.

By incorporating financial literacy education at an early age, schools can instill in students a solid sense of financial responsibility. In turn, this can help students develop crucial money management skills. Understanding the value of money, budgeting, and being aware of the consequences of financial decisions is critical. With more financial knowledge, students become better equipped to make informed choices throughout their entire lives.

As a professional personal finance writer, I believe that requiring financial literacy in schools is an absolute no brainer. There are so many positives to giving students the tools and know-how they need to succeed financially.

Financial decisions have a profound impact on our lives. Thus, it is essential to equip students with the knowledge and skills to navigate the complex realm of personal finance before they go off on their own.

After all, you can have the fanciest degrees in the world but fail in life if you don't get your money right.

Exploring Personal Finance Education at the State Level

Fortunately, the momentum behind personal finance education in high schools is gaining strength. A growing number of states are now requiring that all high school students have access to a dedicated standalone personal finance course.

This trend is a good sign. It's been obvious for decades that equipping young individuals with basic financial knowledge and skills is beneficial to their futures. But, implementing change in the US education system is notoriously slow.

Source: NGPF’s 2023 State of Financial Education Report

Specific requirements and the implementation of personal finance education vary from one state to the next. But not only that, the rules and offerings can also vary within each state.

School districts and individual schools may also have additional flexibility in how personal finance concepts are incorporated into the curriculum. With that in mind, you can see how financial literacy education is quite complicated and has been slow to implement with so many variables.

Parents Must Make An Effort To Teach Kids About Personal Finance

I'm glad that the efforts to provide personal finance education to high school students is gaining significant traction. Recently, six new states join the ranks of the previous 11.

As a result of this collective action, an additional 1.6 million high school students across these states will now be guaranteed the opportunity to take a dedicated Personal Finance course before their graduation.

This step toward financial literacy ensures that more young individuals will have the knowledge and skills needed to make informed financial decisions in their lives ahead.

Despite the progress of teaching personal finance in school, it still behooves all parents to teach their children about personal finance. Share with them everything you know and treat the subject as the most important school subject they can learn. Once kids understand personal finance fundamentals, they can make better decisions that will improve their lives.

Source: NGPF’s 2023 State of Financial Education Report

Benefits of Personal Finance Education in Schools

To help you understand even better why we should all advocate financial literacy, here's a look at the key benefits.

  • Financial Empowerment: Financial literacy provides students with the tools to make informed financial decisions, budget effectively, and understand the consequences of their choices. This financial empowerment sets a strong foundation for students' future financial well-being.
  • Long-Term Financial Success: By introducing personal finance education early in schools, students can develop healthy financial habits and behaviors from a young age. They can learn the importance of saving, setting financial goals, and making wise financial decisions.
  • Responsible Financial Behavior: Personal finance education promotes responsible financial behavior among students. It teaches them the importance of financial responsibility, including paying bills on time, managing credit responsibly, and living within their means.
  • Reduced Financial Stress: Financial literacy gained through personal finance education helps students develop strategies to manage and reduce financial stress. They can learn techniques for managing debt, dealing with financial emergencies, and planning for the future.
  • Real-World Application: Personal finance education bridges the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application. Students can learn how to apply financial concepts to real-life situations such as creating a budget, managing expenses, and making informed purchasing decisions.

By equipping students with these essential skills, schools play a crucial role in shaping the financial well-being of their students and helping them achieve a more secure and prosperous future.

Financial Literacy In Schools

What financial literacy topics are actually taught in US schools? Personal finance education covers a range of subjects designed to teach students the necessary knowledge and skills to manage their personal finances effectively.

Specific curriculum content may vary by state and school district. But, here are some common areas most typically covered in personal finance education:

  • Budgeting
  • Financial Planning
  • Fundamentals of investing
  • How to diversify an investment portfolio
  • Insurance basics

Financial Literacy At home

Parents play a crucial role in supplementing their children's personal finance education at home. And the earlier you start, the better. Simply adjust the topics and depth of discussions based on your child's age and level of understanding.

Here are some key areas parents can consider teaching their children about:

  • The purpose and value of money.
  • Concepts of earning, saving, investing, and spending.
  • The basics of banking, opening a savings account, and the benefits of saving money.
  • Fundamentals of earning and compounding interest.
  • How to make wise spending choices, differentiating between needs and wants, and the importance of comparison shopping.
  • Different ways to earn money, such as through allowances, part-time jobs, or entrepreneurial endeavors.
  • The importance of work ethic and financial independence.
  • Encourage entrepreneurial thinking and innovation. Discuss business concepts, problem-solving, and the potential for financial independence through creative ideas and ventures.

Make personal finance a regular topic of conversation. So much of our day to day lives is impacted by money and financial decisions! Lead by example through your own responsible financial practices. You have more influence on your kids than you may realize.

Personal Finance Education Is Lifelong

In conclusion, the integration of personal finance education in schools holds immense value and potential for the financial well-being and success of students.

Financial literacy teaches young individuals the essential knowledge and skills related to budgeting, saving, investing, responsible spending, and financial decision-making. Let's support our schools to help empower students to navigate their financial futures with confidence.

In addition, I hope more people from students, to worker bees, and even retirees will commit to lifelong learning of personal finance. There's an endless amount of knowledge to gain, infinite opportunities, and greater wealth to strive for and attain.

Not sure where to start?

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