NFEC Develops First Financial Literacy Standards

Professionals such as medical doctors, lawyers, schoolteachers, and accountants all are required to conform with strict standards in order to receive their degrees and licenses. Why shouldn’t there be similar Financial Literacy Standards to govern the qualifications of financial educators and programming? The National Financial Educators Council saw this need and filled it – developing the first national standards for financial literacy instructor training, educational materials and methodologies, and learner outcomes. The resulting documents benefit learners, educators, and prospective clients by setting parameters for evaluating the quality of financial education programs and the qualifications of their instructors.

Benefits of Standards

The NFEC sets benchmarks for the financial education and coaching industry that will assist providers to become more effective and competent in helping individuals work toward financial wellness. The NFEC standards for professionals and learners offer the following benefits:

Standards for Professionals

Financial Education Standards for Instructors

The NFEC wrote its Framework for Teaching Personal Finance to propose the knowledge and skills financial instructors must attain to earn certification. This standards framework was revised from the well-renowned Framework for Teaching by Charlotte Danielson and custom-tailored to meet the requirements of financial educators.

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Financial Literacy Educators Standards

Financial Literacy Standards for Coaches

Financial coaching and counseling requires its own set of guidelines for training and ethical comport. That’s why the NFEC developed the Financial Coaching Standards & Code of Conduct, which specifies the knowledge financial coaches must gain across counseling, psychology, personal finance, and coaching techniques to earn top qualifications.

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Financial Literacy Standards for Coaches


Standards for Learner & Educational Methodology Best Practices

National Standards for Financial Literacy Learners

To evaluate the quality of learning, the NFEC created its Financial Literacy Framework & Standards. This book sets educational targets for both learners and instructors across ten essential categories of personal finance knowledge.

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Learner Financial Literacy Standards

Financial Literacy Standards for Pedagogical Methods

It’s not just the topics being taught, but how financial education takes place that makes a difference. Drawing from the latest research, the NFEC wrote its National Financial Capability Strategy to set pedagogical standards for financial education that encourages behavior modification, knowledge gain, and systematization.

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Educational Methodologies of Personal Finance Financial Literacy Curriculum PDF Download

Financial Literacy Standards for Educational Quality

Financial Literacy Standards and Teaching Best Practices

Giving instructors a framework for professional practice is common in many fields – education, financial services, accounting, law, and medicine, for example. Yet until now the financial education industry has provided limited guidelines for financial education instructors and financial coaches. The NFEC changed this by developing financial literacy standards and guidelines that help promote a better quality financial education.

Benefits of Standards

The NFEC sets benchmarks for the financial education and coaching industry that will assist providers to become more effective and competent in helping individuals work toward financial wellness. The NFEC standards for professionals and learners offer the following benefits:

Standards for Professionals

Financial Educator Standards

The Framework for Teaching Personal Finance identifies the responsibilities of financial educators proven by empirical studies and theoretical research to produce the highest gains in participant test scores, and provides clear benchmarks to enhance educators’ ongoing professional development.

Working directly with the Danielson Group consultants, the NFEC modified Charlotte Danielson’s highly-recognized Framework for Teaching. The Framework for Teaching is a set of standards for educators that has become widely accepted in the US by educators, administrators, policymakers, and academics. The collaboration between the Danielson Group and the NFEC yielded the first and only national standards for financial educators – the Framework for Teaching Personal Finance.

Financial Literacy Educators Standards

Financial Coaching Standards

The Financial Coaching Standards and Code of Conduct shares benchmarks with the financial coaching industry that will assist financial coaches, counselors, and consultants to become more effective and serve their clients’ best interests.

Because financial coaches deal with people’s finances – a topic which can evoke strong feelings – and because each person has pre-existing financial behaviors and a unique financial situation, effective coaching requires someone with cross-disciplinary knowledge in counseling, psychology, personal finance, and coaching techniques.

The NFEC drew upon existing policies set by organizations, including the Certified Financial Planner Board, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the International Coaches’ Federation, and the National Best Practices for Teaching Standards. Excerpts from the policies set by each of these organizations, as well as by other highly-respected groups, influenced this document.

Financial Literacy Standards for Coaches


Standards for Learner & Educational Methodology Best Practices

Learner Standards

The NFEC’s Financial Literacy Framework & Standards for learners was developed to improve the quality and enhance the impact of instruction in financial literacy. These standards define what a person should know about personal finance across 10 core area of this subject matter.

For educators, these standards set performance goals for those who participate in the training. For learners, they provide learning goals that give students clear targets to strive for. When both educators and learners have set goals, the program is better positioned to achieve positive outcomes.

Learner Financial Literacy Standards

Educational Methodologies

The educational methodologies developed by the NFEC support learners to develop positive financial behaviors, acquire financial knowledge, and establish systems that help them work toward stronger financial positions. Toward those ends, these research-based educational and financial principles incorporate insights from both the pedagogical canon as well as current research into how people change attitudes and behaviors.

These methodologies account for the facts that 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.

Educational Methodologies Standards

The National Financial Educators Council developed professional teaching standards for financial educators that serve as the basis for instructor preparation and assessment. These financial education instructor standards provide a benchmark that describe the skills-sets, traits and knowledge an educator should possess.

The National Financial Educator Standards define the knowledge and skill sets that qualify individuals to teach personal finance. The objective is to provide financial educators and those developing a financial literacy program clear framework within which they should demonstrate competence.

Learn more about the National Financial Educator Standards.

National Financial Education Standards

All of the NFEC’s curriculum and presentations for youth PK through College are aligned with the Jump$tart Coalition® for Personal Financial Literacy standards. The NFEC has also expanded these standards to include easy to follow guidelines for educators. The objective was to make aligning lesson plans with national standards easier to follow and implement.

The NFECs Financial Literacy Learning Outcomes were developed to help individuals achieve a state of financial capability and provide clear steps so they implement the learned money management lessons in the ‘real world’. Through collaborative efforts from the NFEC’s team of educators, financial professional and community leaders, these financial education standards represent the best practices in the industry.We invite you to use these guidelines when developing a new program or updating an existing program. These financial education standards were also designed with the NFECs holistic approach to financial capability in mind. Taking a comprehensive view of the issue of financial illiteracy and an individual’s personal definition of financial success, these standard encompass the NFECs financial literacy definition “possessing the skills and knowledge on financial matters to confidently take effective action that best fulfills an individual’s personal, family and global community goals.” Download the PDF of the NFECs’ Financial Literacy Grant Funding Outcomes

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Financial Literacy Standards – Overview

The National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) financial literacy standards deliver clear guidelines on how to implement the Jump$tart national standards. They are aligned with standards for National Council of Economic Education, Jump$tart Coalition, National Council of English Teachers, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Business Education Association and the National Council for Social Studies.The NFEC financial literacy standards were developed by a team of educators, financial professionals and business experts. They bridge the gap between education and practical application. The focus is on helping participants achieve financial wellness and success (their own personal definition of success).On top of the education value, the NFEC financial literacy curriculum is entertaining, engaging and focuses on moving students to take positive financial action. Many of the activities are hands on in nature, increasing retention rates and providing a true experiential learning program.

Educators who deliver the lesson plans report an excellent response from the students, and the post testing quantifies the effectiveness. Educators who complete our Certified Financial Education Instructor Training Course have a deep understanding of the standards and know how to deliver the material effectively.

In discussions with hundreds of financially successful people and conducting in depth reviews of tens of thousand people from across the country, the NFEC standards have been highly acclaimed in their design and real world approach to the subjects. These standards have help improve existing programs and our Financial Literacy Programs can help shape any program to align with our standards.

The NFECs’ comprehensive financial literacy standards are available for students in Junior High, High School, College and adult education. NFEC maintains that whether you are a student or an adult you should have some type of personal finance curriculum or money management training. It has been observed that at any age people are given a course that delivers financial literacy curriculum they have a better understanding on practical money management matters.

We have included a list of the lessons that help young students build the foundation knowledge and serve as a backbone to helping them achieve financial wellness. The foundation of the NFECs’ financial literacy standards addresses the psychology behind personal finances. This feature of the standards (also a feature of the financial literacy pyramid) is included based on the consensus of financially successful people and educators. Here are some additional unique features included in the NFECs’ financial education curriculum.

The NFEC’s standards cover ten key topics that exceed current national and state guidelines. These foundation topics covered include: credit & debt, accounts & budgeting, psychology, skill growth and income. The next level addressed is long-term planning, business relations, risk management and investing. The final topic addressed is social enterprise; this is where students pick up basic entrepreneurial skill sets and a focus for working for the greater good.

Many professional arenas have well-established standards for educational quality, including medicine, accounting, education, finance, and law. Yet, although some guidelines had been set for school-based personal finance curriculum, financial literacy standards to guide educators and coaches were sorely lacking until now. The National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) has addressed this need by developing a full complement of benchmarks to provide oversight for the financial literacy field.

The NFEC put together an expert team and partnered with the Danielson Group – educational consultants with a global reputation – to write the Framework for Teaching Personal Finance. This framework poses the first national standards for financial literacy education and educator training today. The guidelines lay out the skill and knowledge bases financial instructors must attain to achieve competence and effectiveness.

These financial education standards offer multiple advantages:

  • Ensured better program quality
  • Distinct criteria for educator performance evaluation and self-assessments
  • Recommendations for ongoing professional development
  • Shared language to enhance communication
  • Assurance that educators are held to the highest financial literacy standards for practice
  • Instructor preparation tools and evaluation measures
After completing this document, the NFEC turned to development of financial education standards governing coaches and counselors. They consulted the regulations of nationally reputable agencies such as the American Psychological Association, the Certified Financial Planner Board, and the International Coaches’ Federation and conducted financial literacy best practices research. The NFEC’s team of experts designed the Financial Coaching Standards and Code of Conduct to outline ethical and practical guidelines for financial coaches, consultants, and counselors.

Simultaneously with this effort, the NFEC was conducting a complete design overhaul of its all-ages financial education curriculum packages. The organization’s national standards for financial literacy now have been made available to the public at large for purposes of setting benchmarks to define the top quality of educational and programming efforts. Educators and programs that adhere to these standards strongly improve their chances of success at raising the financial capabilities of the people they serve.

Funded by the NFEC’s Social Enterprise Fund – a fund that supports financial education standards and research – the standards behind curriculum development were informed by learning theories such as Webb’s Depth of Knowledge and Piaget’s Cognitive Development theory. Piaget was particularly helpful in designing the curriculum for children, as his theory posits separating content material based on a child’s stage of cognitive development. Webb was more useful to inform the adult curriculum, as his theory lays out methods for understanding the target audience and tailoring lessons to make them more relatable for the specific group.

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