Note: Be sure to check out our overview of the national financial literacy and education standards, too!
From managing their allowance to upgrading app subscriptions, today’s children handle money from an early age. If your children aren’t financially responsible, they’ll likely carry bad money habits into adulthood. While parents can teach money management at home, financial education is increasingly becoming popular in school.
Taking the case of Ohio, the state recently passed Senate Bill 1, mandating a personal finance course for high school students. This means every high schooler needs a half-credit of financial literacy to graduate.
Ohio’s Financial Literacy Standards
The following topics feature in Ohio’s financial literacy curriculum.
Decision-Making and Financial Responsibility
Between kindergarten and grade 3, students learn about money choices such as saving, spending, and donating. The teacher also introduces skills such as hard work and honesty which equip the student for future job markets. Between grades 4 and 6, teachers emphasize the connection between education and lifetime income. Students also learn about resources that can help with financial planning.
Additionally, teachers talk about tax revenue and its connection to government services. In middle grades, students learn how to account for their money choices both in the present and future. The teacher also discusses the consequences of financial choices on an individual and other people. When it comes to high school, teachers differentiate between responsible and irresponsible money use, while discussing long-term and short-term financial goals.
Money Management and Planning
From kindergarten to grade 3, this topic covers the basics of budgeting and how to distinguish needs from wants. Students between grades 4 and 6 learn how to balance their income against expenses, making sure to save the remainder of their earnings. By middle grade, students are already familiar with financial institutions like banks and credit unions.
The teacher also introduces financial planning services, saving, and checking accounts. For high schoolers, teachers delve deeper into financial goals, emphasizing the need to regularly evaluate and update these targets. Furthermore, students learn that financial goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound). The curriculum also explains the roles of financial planners and how to choose the right one.
The introductory section of this topic teaches students between kindergarten and grade 3 how to safeguard their money, valuables, and personal information. The teacher can describe scenarios where it’s appropriate or inappropriate to share personal property, information, and money. From grades 4 to 6, students learn about the dangers of identity theft and financial fraud and how to protect themselves from such situations.
From kindergarten to grade 3, this topic explains why you should rethink your purchase to avoid overspending and unnecessary debt.
Between grades 4 and 6, the teacher discusses comparable products and services and the need for research before making a purchase. Consumers should research the product using verified sources, for example, online reviews and consumer reports.
Middle graders also learn decision-making strategies to determine whether purchases match their budget. For high schoolers, informed consumption means reviewing even the tiniest advertisement details to ensure the product matches the hype. Students also learn about consumer protection and how to identify fraud.
Credit and Debt
Between kindergarten and grade 3, this topic covers different ways to acquire goods and services, for example, cash, credit and debit cards, and checks. The teacher also differentiates buying from borrowing and what is expected of a borrower. From grades 4 to 6, the teacher explains the advantages and disadvantages of various payment models and when it’s ideal to borrow.
For middle graders, this topic entails the contracts, types of credit, and the terms of a loan. High schoolers learn to distinguish bank loans from payday lenders and how an individual can end up unbanked.
This topic runs from middle grades to high school. Students learn the role of investing in protecting their long-term and short-term net worth. Furthermore, the teacher defines assets and liabilities and the cost of different investment products. The topic also introduces government agencies like National Credit Union Association (NCUA) and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) which offer regulatory services to protect investors.
No matter the age, personal finance is a necessary skill to navigate life. The sooner your child masters financial discipline, the more responsible they are with their money.
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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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