Research-based Financial Education Principles

Basic financial literacy lessons are simple. After even a short course, most people can understand essential personal finance topics and be ‘financially literate.’ But financial literacy is not enough when it comes to teaching personal finance.

Just knowing the subject matter does little to improve a person’s financial behaviors and potential for a secure future. Helping improve a person’s long-term financial outlook requires moving them to adopt positive financial behaviors and set up systems that support them down the road to financial security.

The Challenge: Overcoming Pre-existing Habits & Unique Needs

Every person you teach has different financial habits, emotional connections with money, and current financial realities – each learner is different, and their unique needs should be considered in the programming.

From an early age, our financial attitudes and habits start to form. Parents, advertisers, peers, and influencers shape our children’s financial behaviors – often for the worse. Brown University’s research on chores demonstrates that financial habits tend to form and take firm root by as young as age nine. [1]

Unfortunately, Americans are not developing ideal habits for long-term financial security. Instead, an array of data demonstrate the need for learning a different approach. For example, 84% fall short of retirement savings targets [2]; 48% are poor or low-income [1]; 46% do not have $400 on hand for an emergency [4]; and 72% are experiencing financial stress [5].

84%

Short on Retirement Savings Targets

48%

Poor or Low-income Households

46%

Do Not Have $400 for Emergencies

72%

Experiencing Financial Stress

To Overcome Ingrained Behaviors, Focus Programs on Achieving these 5 Goals

Every person has different financial habits, emotional connections with money, and current financial realities – each learner is different, and their unique needs should be considered in the programming. Well-constructed programs consider more than just content knowledge in their design. Here are 5 measures that will help maximize program impact.

Research-based Financial Education Principles & Methodologies


Selecting Resources to Achieve These Goals

To reach these goals, the program is built around research-based instructional methodologies, including: