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Americans Are Bad At Personal Finance, But Other Countries Are Getting It Right

Poll QuestionHow refreshing to see government making financial education a priority.

Too bad it isn’t ours.

Starting next fall, schoolchildren in the United Kingdom will learn about money as part of the country’s new national curriculum. Finance will be incorporated into math lessons at all grade levels, and then also into English and citizenship courses for higher grades.

What a fascinating concept.

Yes, American kids do learn some of these things, specifically when it comes to math.

We teach our children to recognize coins and bills and learn their values. We teach them to add and subtract denominations. We teach them how to make change.

Indeed, a recent story in Time showed there are efforts at home to improve financial education, but because there are no national standards, “the effort has been disjointed.”

We really like what British children will learn in citizenship courses, which will teach students to manage their money, both on a daily basis and in the long term, through lessons on:

  • Budgeting
  • Managing risk
  • Credit and debt
  • Income and spending
  • Savings
  • Insurance
  • Financial products and services

“The citizenship class,” according to the Time report, “is designed ‘to ensure that all pupils are equipped with the skills to think critically and debate political questions, to enable them to manage their money on a day-to-day basis, and plan for future financial needs.'”

Indeed, classes even will cover how public money is raised and spent. We can’t speak for public understanding across the pond, but it’s obvious to us that some American adults don’t truly understand how taxes work.

And we think it’s smart that English classes will incorporate financial terms into spelling and vocabulary lessons.

Because, you know, everyone needs to know the true meaning of money.




What area of personal finance should schools spend more time teaching?
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