The Fight Over Financial Literacy


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Many Americans, burdened by a lack of retirement savings and more than one trillion dollars in student loans, are desperate to know how to make smarter financial decisions. Educators, financial institutions and even some savvy parents have come up with methods to instill good financial behavior. Yet there's widespread disagreement on the most effective means of teaching kids about money. On one issue most agree: Too many Americans lack the basic knowledge to manage household finances well.

Features

  • Teaching Americans to Listen When Their Money Talks

    Some educators say financial literacy courses can do more harm than good -- giving students enough knowledge to boost their confidence to take greater risks but not enough to help assess those risks. “An illiterate nation can’t compete globally,” says Annamaria Lusardi, an economics professor at the George Washington School of Business. “How can we even think of not teaching it?”

  • With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

    In a post-recession world, where personal finance education has yet to improve the way we make financial decisions, financial services firms are stepping in to get the job done. “The idea that the fox is going to teach the hen is a bit much,” says Lauren Willis, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

  • Fee Creep and High Interest Rates at the Bank of Dad

    When my cousin Marc and his sister started receiving allowances as kids, my aunt and uncle gave the practice a novel twist: They indexed the allowance to the price of ice cream at Baskin-Robbins. Pondering the episode helped Marc figure out a way to help his own kids manage their money and learn about finance.

Slideshow

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