Answering the Question: Do Finance Classes Work?

There has been a great deal of talk recently about personal finance classes and a common question arises: do financial management courses work?

Let’s take a broader look beyond financial management courses to education as a whole.  Most people believe that we can teach our kids about money, or any subject for that matter.  Not only do our political leaders believe in education, they put their money into it as well.  With close to a trillion dollars spent on education as a whole in 2010, it is apparent that education works.

There have been studies, however, that have shown that some personal finance classes are not effective.  This directly relates to the quality of the coursework, instructor and delivery method – not personal finance classes in general.  It’s interesting that many parents and educators question if a financial planning education works.  Yet these same parents are sending their kids off to school.

Bottom line, the human mind has the capability to learn any subject – math, science, history – even financial literacy.  Providing our youth a financial planning education through financial management courses will help them pick up the financial skills necessary to improve their money situation and hopefully help them achieve a state of financial wellness.

Just simple financial planning education lessons like compounding interest, savings plans, credit and investment basics can motivate young students to want to take more personal finance classes. The key is in the delivery of the financial management course.

To keep students interest, increase retention rates and motivate student to take positive action – a focus must be placed on engaging the students with relevant material delivered in a way the target audience relates to.  Most financial management courses, unfortunately, bore many students. They are turned off either by the teacher, material or delivery method of the personal finance classes.

You can make financial management courses effective by simply focusing on the end user.  What is their motivation and how can you fan the sparks that will help them continue to pick up a practical financial literacy education.