It’s Financial Literacy Month!
Over the years, I have shared my passion for educating and the important role of understanding personal finance. The term “financial literacy” is one, that over time, has continued to gain more relevance. In the past, I have shared how schools and governments are realizing the need to push for better means of financial education. April happens to be financial literacy month in the United States. In honor of the 30-days dedicated to improving an understanding of finances, here is a roundup of my favorite financial literacy topics.
Back to Basics
One of the most challenging aspects of increasing our country’s financial literacy levels is determining when it is best to educate on them. While many people feel strongly about adding personal finance to high school curriculums, others believe that is too late. There are countless aspects of financial literacy that are simple enough to teach at elementary levels. Young students learn definitions of many words as early as kindergarten, so why not throw in a few financial terms along the way.
Beyond the Classroom
Many people feel that the responsibility of educating our youth in personal finance falls on the laps of parents. In schools that do not work finance into the curriculum, children gain their personal finance knowledge from their parents or guardians. For most of the adult generations, this has always been “the norm”. As we grew up, our parents were expected to show us how to open a bank account or what taxes were all about. However, this approach means bad habits and financial blind spots can get passed down systematically unless adults take it upon themselves to be ambassadors of financial literacy for the next generation. This means taking it upon ourselves to explore the subject matter so as to be able to teach it.
Around the World
One of the most eye-opening topics I covered last year compared the United States to other countries, in regards to teenage financial literacy. While as a nation, we often fall “first” for many categories, an understanding of financial concepts is not our strong suit. An assessment conducted by the OECD, showed that one in five U.S. students “failed to meet the level to be considered, financially literate.” Compare that to the only, one in ten Russian and Chinese students who failed to meet the mark. Much of the negligence of U.S. students is credited to the lack of evolution in the mathematics curriculum. Other countries find that teaching the subcategories of mathematics (geometry, trigonometry) are a wastes of time. Many of them place a much higher value on a solid financial education.