A recent study of 15-year old students worldwide showed that U.S. teens have more to learn about finances compared to their counterparts in 17 other countries. The students ranked about in the middle of the pack with Chinese students in Shanghai ranking highest followed by Belgium, Estonia, Australia, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, Poland and Latvia. We all want to know who was at the bottom: Croatia, Israel, the Slovak Republic, Italy, and Colombia.
The results, which reflected financial tests given in 2012 by The Programme for International Student Assessment, (PISA), part of OECD, were part of a larger testing of students – from 65 countries – of academic knowledge.
Less than 10 percent of US students were able to solve the most difficult questions and more than 1 in 6 American kids could not reach the average level of financial knowledge. The best they could do was make the most basic, everyday decisions on spending.
But here’s the takeaway: Financial literacy is important and everyone needs to do a better job of teaching our children about money and finances. We teach them a lot of subjects, math, reading, history and science but we fall short on teaching them about financial matters. The schools only gloss over it, usually as part of math classes, and parents…well… many parents don’t have much to offer in the way of financial literacy because they were not taught anything.
We want our children to learn about finances, not so they can be rich or become obsessed with money; it’s so they can go about their lives and not have to worry about finances. Being free of financial worries is one of the best feelings a person can experience, because it allows them to grow in other areas.
A former Washington correspondent for Business Week magazine, Larry Kahaner is the author of 15 books, including the best-selling Competitive Intelligence, a Book-of-the-Month selection that has been translated into six languages. He has also written Values Prosperity and the Talmud; Business Lessons from the Ancient Rabbis, The Quotations of Chairman Greenspan and AK-47; the Weapon that Changed the Face of War. Full bio.
His in-person, interactive, multimedia presentation titled Fiscal Fitness Boot Camp is available to colleges, universities and companies. You can email him directly at Larry Kahaner.
He is represented by Wolfman Productions, Inc.