Teachers’ Preparation for Teaching Personal Finance


Way, W. L. & Holden, K.C. (2009). Teachers’ background and capacity to teach personal finance: Results of a national study. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning Education, 20(2), 64-78.

Brief Description: An increasing number of state mandates have expanded financial education at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels. An online survey of 504 grade K-12 teachers was conducted to determine teachers’ background and capacity to teach personal finance. Results indicated that teachers recognized the importance of teaching personal finance but few have had formal preparation for teaching this subject matter. This is especially true for the topic areas of insurance/risk management and saving/investing. Having taken a personal finance course for credit is an important predictor of whether a teacher ever taught a course with personal finance content. Those teaching vocational subjects (including family and consumer education) were nearly five times as likely as other teachers to have taken a personal finance-related course. Personal finance training and teaching is highly concentrated among a few disciplines.

Implications: Relatively few teachers are currently teaching financial topics and most have acquired very little formal education in personal finance. Teachers’ capacity to teach personal finance is limited by their perceived lack of preparedness in both subject matter content and instructional methods. The main implication of this study is that there is a great need to expand personal finance educational opportunities for pre-service and in-service teachers in order to meet both their personal and professional needs. Focused programs related to insurance and investing would be particularly beneficial, since these topics were identified as those that teachers feel most ill-prepared to teach.