It is happening! We as a nation are finally addressing that 30-year-old question: Why don’t they teach kids about money in schools?
With this wave of progress, we also see a wave of state-specific mandates. Will there eventually be a national standard that encompasses the plethora of skills needed to be financially literate? Yes, we truly believe that day will come, but for the moment, each state is releasing its own specific standards required to be considered for a semester-long program.
Money Vehicle working with schools nationwide is in an opportune position to be able to weigh in on these standards and identify where we can see progress as well as where we see an ability to improve.
Financial Education Topics
There is some consistency in topics as states come out with their criteria. Just about everyone is prioritizing Income, Banking, Cash Management, Saving Strategies, Credit Cards, Insurance, and some introduction to investing. The subjects are a solid start to financial empowerment and are all covered within the Money Vehicle curriculum. If there were areas of improvement, it would be in the need to update banking from balancing a checkbook to new age benefits such as automation.
The only issue that we have with this grouping is that it seems academia is still pushing the idea that “college is for everyone” with the correlation of higher income for college graduates. While college is a great option for many, it is not for everyone — and Money Vehicle tries to balance this idea by delivering it to all students.
The topic of investing is addressed in some standards with a variety of approaches. This is also a topic that must be approached delicately. No one wants students to believe they will become institutional investors after one class.
Understanding compound interest while not believing you can predict where it will occur is a fine line. Schools must be careful in their implementation so as to not be too heavy on gamifying what investing really is. Investing without research is gambling, there must be an emphasis on the principles of investing and not so much on the evaluation of stock.
The topic of insurance is brought up in several standards but identifying which forms of insurance a student will need should be critiqued. Homeowner policies and Life Insurance policies should not be the standard as it is not relevant to most students. Instead, Money Vehicle makes the subject applicable through a focus on Auto Insurance and an introduction to Health and Renter’s policies.
Topics That are Often Left Out
Two topics that are relatively left out of the standards nationwide are mindset training and cyber-security.
Money Vehicle appreciates that financial literacy will fail without action and makes an attempt to focus on mindset throughout the program with continual attention to forming habits. These habits are outlined in the five monthly cash management actions and the idea of mental health or relationship with money should be a standard of success.
The subject of cyber-security may feel like a stretch for a class standard, but the reality is out currency is becoming more digital every day and with this evolution, we will be forced to protect our money from hackers. This attack forces the conversation and should force the standard adoption.
The Money Vehicle curriculum was developed with a student’s financial needs in mind and the actions they would need to start a plan in the right direction, with no ulterior motives nor incentives to curtail its lessons. While our program is not perfect or even finished, we are proud of how many state standards we are able to map to and exceed!
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And check out our white paper: “Strategies for Increasing Financial Literacy Rates Among High School and College Students”
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