Financial Education – Parents, Schools, Programs

Most people never receive a financial education – only 16.4% of students are required to take a class. And the small amount who are lucky enough to receive financial literacy training participate in programs focused on lower levels of thinking, which do little to help learners develop positive money behaviors and systems to truly benefit.

Personal finance is a unique subject. All participants in financial education have pre-existing financial situations, habits with money, and unique financial goals. Because of this individuality, programs that simply address ‘financial literacy’ will have limited impact. Programs should include training on the behavioral and psychological aspects of money and help people set up the systems they need to better manage their finances.

Research, Statistics & Quotes

68 percent of parents don’t explain this key money concept to their kids.

Kathleen Elkins, CNBC

Recent research has shown that kids are ready to learn about money at a very early age. And money management skills learned very young, along with money habits inspired and encouraged by parents, have the greatest impact on kids’ success with personal finance by the time they reach adulthood.

National Financial Educators Council

56 percent of parents are talking to their kids about money, but most parents are missing important parts of the conversation with only 32 percent of parents explaining what a credit score is and 38 percent encouraging them to get their first credit card.

Chase Bank

“According to the survey, 77 percent of parents talk to their kids about saving money in general, and more than half talk about budgeting and building/maintaining credit. But only 30 percent of parents talk about investing money, while 32 percent educate kids about saving money for retirement.”

US Bank Survey as reported by

“Parents, if you don’t teach personal finance lessons to your kids, they likely will never receive any financial education. It’s your responsibility to ensure that they are ready to leave your home with the skills, behaviors, and systems that will help them be self-sufficient members of society and avoid the pain associated with money struggles.”

Vince Shorb, CEO, National Financial Educators Council

Financial education that occurs at earlier ages and continues through their schooling years may be better suited for fostering a baseline level of financial education across socioeconomic backgrounds.

American Economic Organization

Only 16.4% of students are required to take a personal finance class.

NextGen Personal Finance

The state with the highest financial education standards only requires 1 semester total.


Currently, only four states — Missouri, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia — require that high school students take a stand-alone personal finance course to graduate.

Jump$tart Coalition as reported by GenFKD

Only 7 states require standardized testing of personal finance concepts.

Council of Economic Education

Financial education programs benefit 100% of students. Compare this to only 19% who will need high school-level algebra in their job.

National Financial Educators Council as reported by the Atlantic

Over $3 billion is invested into STEM annually and only about 10% of students will get a STEM-based job upon graduation.

US Department of Education

We find that young people who are in school after the implementation of a financial education requirement have higher relative credit scores and lower relative delinquency rates than those in control states.”

Federal Reserve

According to the Council for Economic Education, only a third of U.S. states require high school students to take a personal finance class in order to graduate. And one in five 15-year-olds in the U.S. lacked basic financial literacy in 2017, according to the Program for International Student Assessment, a global exam that measures knowledge in areas such as math, science, and reading. With state-mandated personal finance programs few and far between, the task of teaching financial literacy falls largely to parents.

US News

“Schools have been teaching the same core subjects for the last 50+ years. It’s the 21st century – we now have computers and a more complex financial system. It’s time to update the lesson plans to include essential life skills and financial literacy. These subjects benefit 100% of students and will help ensure that students graduate with the skills they need to be self-sufficient.”

Vince Shorb, CEO, National Financial Educators Council

NFEC Position Statement

Parents and schools are the front line to ensuring that our kids receive the financial education they need. And the financial education they provide must drive students to use higher-level thinking skills and focus on helping them develop systems and behaviors that provide a foundation for how they manage their money.

To support the efforts of parents and schools, the NFEC provides training and resources to help educators teaching kids about money do so more effectively. From formal curriculum for educators to fun activities for parents, the resources give people concerned for our children’s future the guidelines they need to support financial education. This strategy aligns with our mission to increase access to and quality of financial education programming. In this regard, we acclaim our financial education champions for their collaboration to help us push the financial education movement forward.