Financial Education

Financial Literacy Month: Should Personal Finance Be Taught In School?


personal finance, teaching personal finance in school, teaching personal finance

Our public school system is failing our children. April is Financial Literacy Month, but you’d never know it. There’s no special events at our public school, special units in any of the classes, and there’s not a single poster to be found inside the school. The public school’s failure to recognize Financial Literacy Month is only a small symptom in the greater problem. The public school system does not have any mandatory classes to teach students about personal finance. If the point of an education is to give kids the skills they need to be a productive, successful adult functioning in today’s world, how can personal finance NOT be mandatory material?

At a minimum, the public school system, in my opinion, teach the following skills to students:

Balancing a Checkbook

I’ve met adults that can’t seem to grasp the concept of unposted transactions. One may not always be able to tell how much money they have available to spend based upon what the bank reports as the current balance. Young adults need to know how to keep a balanced checkbook to know how much money they really have.


The foundation to being successful with personal finance is the budget. It helps a person figure out what bills they have and how it compares to their income. It makes people think ahead for upcoming expenditures and is essentially the blueprint for what a person does with their money.

Dangers of Credit Cards

Credit cards can be a useful tool, but they can also be very dangerous. Teaching young adults how they work, what the dangers are, and how hard it is to work your way out of debt are important to their long term financial health.

There are countless personal finance lessons and concepts we could teach to help prepare students for life on their own. The must be support and additional instruction at home, but some basic concepts should be mandatory in the public school.

How about you Clever Friends? Does your public school require any personal finance classes for graduation? Are there any elective courses offered? How did you learn personal finance skills?


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Disease Called Debt

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • As far as I know, the K-12 schools here don’t teach personal finance. Which is a shame because it seems like it would be easy to incorporate into math lessons. Our public library puts on several personal finance related programs. They’re mostly for adults, but they do put on ones for children. Sometimes it’s just story time with lessons on how to manage resources.

    • Story time is a good start, but we need some real world education for young adults. I do think personal finance education is becoming more common than it had been, but it still has a long way to go.

  • I think it’s hard to teach personal finance in school. Sure, the generic advice like “don’t get into too much debt”, “don’t spend more than you earn” will work. But beyond generic advice, teaching PF as a “right/wrong” answer doesn’t make sense.

    For example, some people say debt is bad. Others say that debt is good if used to finance investments. There is no clear “right/wrong” answer.

  • I remember we had an econ class we had to take, in middle-school. That’s the only subject I remember being somewhat related to money and finances, and it was taught at a 5th grade level…

    I think the school system should definitely put more emphasis on introducing personal finance as a subject.

    Of course, teaching kids how to budget and making them learn this stuff by heart doesn’t sound helpful at all (and I think it would have the opposite effect on many!), but teaching (older) kids about some basic finance concepts (like, compound interest for instance) should be doable.

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