Last month was Financial Literacy Month and we teamed up with social media entrepreneur, Natalie Zfat on the #MySavingsStory video campaign.
Throughout the entire month of April, we shared personal video stories from writers, artists and economists to inform and inspire kids to understand and take control of their financial lives.
We received savings advice from fashion designer Elie Tahari, best-selling author of Diary of A Wimpy Kid, Jeff Kinney, entrepreneur Rosie Pope, President of the Richmond Fed, Jeffrey Lacker and others who shared what they’ve learned about the importance of financial literacy and saving.
Read Natalie’s post about the campaign and make sure to check out the compilation video with all the great advice!
Written by: Brian Page, Chair, Council for Economic Education Teacher Advisory Council
Later this spring, high schools across the country will be graduating students from a world of test scores to a world of credit scores. Many teens will unknowingly be making decisions that will impact them in the decade to come. Yet most lawmakers have fallen short of respecting personal finance as a dedicated subject worthy of stand alone classes required for graduation, taught by teachers trained to teach it well. It’s time we work together to advocate on behalf of high school students to prepare them for the real world.
High school science, math and language arts teachers receive content specific instruction in college, and are required to pass content specific tests to earn teacher certification. Personal finance… not so much. Often times when mandates are passed, they require the integration of personal finance into other coursework. The mandate is often dumped into the laps of teachers who have never been trained to teach personal finance.
A FINRA Investor Education Foundation-funded study, State Financial Education Mandates: It’s All in the Implementation, examined the effectiveness of state mandates on financial education for high-school students. The study noted that if a rigorous financial education program is carefully implemented, it can improve the credit scores and lower the probability of credit delinquency for young adults. In other words, we need to train our teachers, require semester courses devoted to personal finance, and use hands on teaching methods that focus on relevant content.
NCLB aside, our country has historically been a locally controlled education system. This changed following the financial collapse in 2008. Somehow a banking collapse led to education “reform”, and schools were faced with a multitude of new evaluation systems and testing requirements. Subsequently, schools and lawmakers now seem to lack the appetite to pass further education mandates. This should not preclude us from trying, using a common sense approach that does not further burden our schools. I’m confident that if asked, parents and teens would be much happier about recent reform efforts if standardized test scores were a little less important, and helping them build their own credit scores were a little more important.
Three times a year the Council for Economic Education releases the CEE Report, highlighting our new and noteworthy events, programs and partnerships, including pilot programs and joint ventures with key supporters.
Advancing Financial Education in New York City
Note from Nan
A Look At GCEE
Financial Literacy Month
Advocating for Economic & Financial Literacy
2015 National Economics Challenge
Gen i: New Mission & Partnership
Teacher Training from the National Center
Vantage Point: Real World Perspectives on the Economy
CEE and 100 Women in Hedge Funds
Vantage Point: Growing Companies, Growing Women
2015 Visionary Awards
By David Wessel, Director, The Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, Brookings
Financial literacy is a key component of our mission at the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, where we focus not just on improving policy, but on improving public understanding of fiscal and monetary issues. Part of what we do is explain how and why complex financial questions are relevant to a broad audience, not just policy wonks.
So it’s fitting that Financial Literacy month is also home to Tax Day, that April 15 deadline for filing tax returns. There’s a lot of focus these days on the widening gap between the top and the bottom in the U.S. economy. It’s a good time to ponder a very simple question: How much does the U.S. tax system shrink the gap between rich and poor?
Now you can tell this story long or you can tell it short. And you can tell it with tables of numbers, charts and graphs—or you can tell with Legos.
To explain how much the U.S. tax code evens out the distribution of income, we’ve made a 3-minute video—with Lego bricks—that illustrates just how unequal the U.S. is before taxes and how much (or how little, depending on your perspective) the tax code changes that.
Watch for yourself, but here are a few of the basic facts:
The average before-tax income of the top 20% of the population in 2014 was $306,320, according to estimates by our friends at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. That’s more than 21 times the average income ($13,809) of those in the bottom 20%, or quintile (as economists put it).
And after federal taxes—income taxes, payroll taxes, etc.? Because the government takes more from best-off than from those at the bottom, the average after-tax income of the top quintile ($229,360) is about 17 times that of the bottom ($13,809). In other words, the U.S. tax system does reduce inequality, but there’s still a lot of it left after taxes.
And what about the famous 1%, the really well off? Their income averaged slightly more than $2 million before taxes in 2014—and $1.34 million after taxes. Put differently, the before-tax income of the richest 1% was 32 times the income of the folks smack in the middle of the middle; after taxes, it was 25 times larger.
Welcome to our fourth and final “Money Math Monday.” We’d like to thank Bedtime Math for partnering with us during Financial Literacy Month to create fun math problems that help kids become more financially literate. This week our focus is money and how a collection of coins from all over the world can add up to some serious money. The Trevi Fountain in Rome attracts thousands of tourists every day and legend has it that people who throw coins into the fountain will have a safe return to Rome in the future. More than $3,000 in coins is collected from the fountain every day! Click here to see Bedtime Math’s problems about the coins collected in this beautiful fountain:
Check out these lessons about coins, currency and why we use money on EconEdLink.org:
Making Cents Out of Centimes
This lesson teaches students about the Euro and exchange rates.
Agent Pincher: P is for Penny or Where Did Money Come From?
This lesson will send your students on a mission to investigate the history of money using resources from PBS, the U.S. Mint, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
What is Money? Why Does it Have Value?
In this lesson, students will think about why we have money, why it has value, and why it makes exchange easier. They will also learn about the three main functions of money (as a medium of exchange, as a unit of account, and as a store of value) and why these functions are important.