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By sunshinecavalluzzi
On July 10, 2017

Lesson Plan: Financial Literacy

Why Financial Inclusion?

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew discusses the benefits of inclusion in the financial system.


The financial literacy of American teens (and adults!) is an ongoing concern. This lesson explores American performance on recent international financial literacy evaluations, the consequences of financial literacy and lack thereof, early savings strategies and options, and provides students with an opportunity to build their own financial literacy.



    • The U.S. Treasury department defines financial literacy as “the knowledge and understanding of financial concepts and risks, and the skills, motivation, and confidence to apply such knowledge and understanding.” Based on that definition, how would you rank your financial literacy on a scale of 1-5 (one being highly illiterate, 5 being highly literate)? Why would you choose that ranking?

    • Do you have a bank account? What percentage of American 15-year-olds do you think have a bank account? What correlation do you think exists for students between having a bank account and financial literacy?

    • How often do you discuss money matters with your parents? What correlation do you think exists for students between regular money discussions with parents and financial literacy?

    • Compare your responses with the national results of the 2015 PISA Financial Literacy evaluation (Google Doc). What do you find surprising and/or unsurprising? Why?

    • On a 1-5 scale (1 being very unimportant and 5 being very important), how important is it to be financially literate? Why did you choose that ranking? What are the ways that financial literacy or lack thereof could impact someone’s life?

    • On a 1-5 scale (1 being very unimportant and 5 being very important), how important is it to you to save money (your personal savings, not any money your parents may be saving for you!)? Why is this the case?

    • What are some of the most significant obstacles impeding people from retirement savings? How could those obstacles most effectively be addressed?

    • Is it appropriate for the government to promote saving and financial literacy? Justify your position!

    • Is a program like myRA something you’d be likely to participate in? Why or why not?

    • Review your preliminary rankings on the importance of financial literacy and savings. Do you still agree with your selected rankings? Why or why not?

    • Jigsaw some of the the information provided at, “a product of the Congressionally chartered Federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission, which is made up of more than 20 Federal entities that are coordinating and collaborating to strengthen financial capability and increase access to financial services for all Americans.”

    • Complete the MyMoneyFive Five Year Plan Handout (Google Doc)

    • Explore the financial literacy test questions available on the PISA website.

    • Financial Planning for a Fabulous Future expenditure tracking and assessment activity (Google Doc).

    • Partner with a local bank or credit union to offer access to low-minimum bank accounts to students as needed.

    • Find a local money manager or consumer credit counselor to come in and speak to your students.

Additional Resources


  • Economics
  • Financial Literacy
  • Financial Literacy And Education Commission
  • Program For International Student Assessment
  • Retirement
  • Savings
  • Treasury Department


Economics & Financial Literacy


Middle SchoolHigh School