Why We Should Be Teaching Financial Literacy

Teachers need to teach their students a lot of things that end up falling under the giant umbrella that can sometimes only be called “stuff“. Its not reading, writing, math, or science. It’s the social stuff of daily life that doesn’t necessarily come in a particular class or from a teacher trained in a particular subject, but in conversations and interactions with other students, teachers and staff. These days, digital literacy is often cited as being “the fourth literacy”, but there are many other literacies out there that our students need if they’re going to be successful, functional adults in a connected, challenging, global world. The video below addresses the idea of financial literacy as a subject that should be taught in schools. It uses data from the Council for Economic Education’s 2014 Survey of the States.

As a teacher, do you feel fit to teach students about personal finance? Do you think students should be required to learn/be evaluated on personal finance at either the secondary or post-secondary level? Weigh in by leaving a comment below, mentioning @Edudemic on Twitter or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.

financial literacy

Students and Personal Finance

(or lack thereof)

  • The current total of student loan debt in the US is more than the current total of credit card debt
  • 30% of college students with loans drop out before they earn a degree
  • 30% of income for 18-24 year olds goes to paying student debt
  • 75% of credit card carrying college students were aware of late payment charges
  • Only 56% of teens plan to save some of their income, down from 89% in 2011
  • In 2010, more people filed for bankruptcy than graduated from college
  • Only 17 states require a course in personal finance
  • Only 22 states require a course in economics
  • Less than 20% of teachers report feeling competent to teach personal finance
  • Students from states where financial education courses are required were more likely to save and less likely to make risky financial decisions



  1. Dr. Dereck Rhoads

    May 31, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Our district is writing financial literacy into our curriculum this summer – essential skill!

    • Merissa Johnson

      June 2, 2014 at 10:21 am

      I agree that it is an essential skill but isn’t that a skill that should be the responsibilty of the parents, rather than the schools?

  2. Mike Payment

    June 2, 2014 at 7:18 am

    I agree that we need to teach fin lit to our students. My courses have risen from 56 students taking it 5 years ago and next year my numbers have increased to over 100. Parents want their children to learn about how to deal with finances and thus the increase in numbers.

  3. Sonja Lyngen

    June 3, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    I totally agree with this article. It is absolutely a necessary skill and should be a required study in secondary education curriculum. I am so thankful that our public school district administrators and local school board had the insight to make financial literacy a required subject at our local high school. Kudos to Whitehall School District administrators, staff, and school board, Whitehall, Wisconsin!