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National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education

Fourth Edition, 2015

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The 2015 edition of the National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education is published by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy on behalf of its partners—from business, finance, government, academia, education, associations and other sectors—and its 50 independent state affiliates.

These National Standards delineate the personal finance knowledge and ability that young people should acquire throughout their kindergarten through 12th grade school years (K-12) to emerge as independent adult consumers, fully prepared to make wise financial decisions for a lifetime of economic well-being. The National Standards represent the framework of a comprehensive personal finance curriculum that begins early in elementary school, builds on foundational knowledge and results in high school graduates who are competent, confident managers of their own money.

The National Standards were designed to guide classroom education, extra-curricular learning and the development of financial education programs, materials and tools, but also, can be easily and effectively used to guide informal education outside the classroom and at home; postsecondary and adult education; professional development for teachers, counselors and others; and other initiatives.

View or Download the complete National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education as a .PDF file, free.

The Standards

Spending and Saving

Overall Competency: Apply strategies to monitor income and expenses, plan for spending and save for future goals.

Standard 1. Develop a plan for spending and saving.

Standard 2. Develop a system for keeping and using financial records.

Standard 3. Describe how to use different payment methods.

Standard 4. Apply consumer skills to spending and saving decisions.

Credit and Debt

Overall Competency: Develop strategies to control and manage credit and debt.

Standard 1. Analyze the costs and benefits of various types of credit.

Standard 2. Summarize a borrower’s rights and responsibilities related to credit reports.

Standard 3. Apply strategies to avoid or correct debt management problems.

Standard 4. Summarize major consumer credit laws.

Employment and Income

Overall Competency: Use a career plan to develop personal income potential.

Standard 1. Explore job and career options.

Standard 2. Compare sources of personal income and compensation.

Standard 3. Analyze factors that affect net income.


Overall Competency: Implement a diversified investment strategy that is compatible with personal financial goals.

Standard 1. Explain how investing may build wealth and help meet financial goals.

Standard 2. Evaluate investment alternatives.

Standard 3. Demonstrate how to buy and sell investments.

Standard 4. Investigate how agencies protect investors and regulate financial markets and products.

Risk Management and Insurance

Overall Competency: Apply appropriate and cost-effective risk management strategies.

Standard 1. Identify common types of risks and basic risk management methods.

Standard 2. Justify reasons to use property and liability insurance.

Standard 3. Justify reasons to use health, disability, long-term care and life insurance.

Financial Decision Making

Overall Competency: Apply reliable information and systematic decision making to personal financial decisions.

Standard 1. Recognize the responsibilities associated with personal financial decisions.

Standard 2. Use reliable resources when making financial decisions.

Standard 3. Summarize major consumer protection laws.

Standard 4. Make criterion-based financial decisions by systematically considering alternatives and consequences.

Standard 5. Apply communication strategies when discussing financial issues.

Standard 6. Analyze the requirements of contractual obligations.

Standard 7. Control personal information.

Standard 8. Use a personal financial plan.


Rosella Bannister, Jump$tart Clearinghouse consultant and retired director of the National Institute for Consumer Education at Eastern Michigan University; Philip Heckman, retired director of youth programs for the Credit Union National Association, who developed CUNA’s preschool financial curriculum, Thrive by Five; and Susan Sharkey, director of the High School Financial Planning Program at the National Endowment for Financial Education and former instructional designer with the Worldwide Instructional Design System (WIDS) and high school business educator, updated the 2007 version of the National Standards and wrote new content to create this book. Their work was further guided by the national Jump$tart Coalition staff and more than 40 reviewers representing Jump$tart national partners, state affiliates, classroom educators and other stakeholders.  Graphic design by Lisa Lansing, Llansing Design, LLC.