Financial Literacy: In the Schools

Nov 25, 2014
Personal Finance, Financial Literacy, Current Events

Round-up of activities happening around the United States:

  • Students in Eau Claire, WI area participated in Real Life Academy recently (

Kristan Motszko with the Eau Claire Area School District says no matter how much money students make when they are older they are still going to have to deal with money.  “I don’t think our financial literacy problem is going away, if anything statistics show it’s getting worse. More and more Americans are living pay check to pay check,” said Motszko.

  • Econ teacher, Pat Curran at Mandarin High School (FL) noted how technology has increased the importance of financial literacy (

“I think it has become more important over time because the financial literacy has gotten more complex,” he said. “Technology is making financial institutions much faster because of the technology, knowledge is power. If the kids are not prepared when they walk into a bank, if they haven’t done their research, it makes it more difficult for them to make an intelligent decision.”

  • Hmmm…what’s wrong about this comment that I saw in a news article?  Teacher in front of class saying “How many of you have heard of Sallie Mae?  Us older people have.  Sallie Mae helps pay for college.”

My correction:  Sallie Mae lends you money so you can pay for college.  You need to REPAY those loans and before you borrow for them you should look at federal loans first.  I hope this was covered too…

  • Manchester (NJ) high school students teach elementary school students basic money lessons (
  • Elon University student teaches local high school students important financial lessons (The Pendulum)

“This isn’t like a lecture. It’s coming from a much younger voice,” he said. “That’s the most important thing. They can associate with us at a much greater level.”  The program emphasizes the value of a college degree by providing students with a breakdown of average starting salaries of those with a high school degree, community college degree and four-year college degree. Students then contextualize these numbers by exploring their own current household budget and spending patterns–an activity Zimpelman said demonstrates how furthering their education will truly impact their financial future.

  • Purdue University instructor notes how students have changed over the years (Purdue Exponent):

Having taught at Purdue for 20 years, Chakravarty notes a distinct change in the student population – and a positive one at that.  “In my own world here at Purdue, we do see a marked difference of preparedness of students as they float through the process over the years,” he said. “Our students come to class nowadays better prepared and better informed … (compared to what) you used to see even 10 or 15 years back.”

Chakravarty said he builds on students’ basic understanding by instilling a sense of offense and defense when it comes to themes like consumer credit, insurance and retirement.  “I sort of break it down into an offense (and) defense framework, so I say you need both offense and defense to come out ahead in this game of life we are playing,” he said.

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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