Financial education should begin in elementary school, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) wrote to Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Michael Enzi (R-WY), chairwoman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families. The senators held a subcommittee hearing on April 24 on The Economic Importance of Financial Literacy Education for Students.
Prior to the hearing, the chair of the AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, Ernie Almonte, submitted a letter to the senators to thank them for their leadership and commitment to improve the financial understanding of America’s youth. In addition, the letter provided information on the AICPA’s financial literacy efforts and findings from recent AICPA surveys that underscore the need for students to receive personal financial instruction beginning in elementary school and continuing through high school.
In the letter, Almonte highlighted the scope of 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, the CPA profession’s volunteer effort to improve the financial understanding of all Americans, and shared targeted efforts for children. One such effort, Feed the Pig for Tweens, is a free, math-based curriculum for 4th-6th grade teachers to provide fundamental money management skills.
According to a July 2012 survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the AICPA, parents are more likely to have talked with their children about other important life lessons before money management. Discussions between parents and children about good manners (95 percent), the benefit of good eating habits (87 percent), and the dangers of drugs and alcohol (84 percent), are more likely to occur than conversations about the value of money and managing it wisely (81 percent). The Commission believes that financial instruction at home and in the classroom is critical in ensuring children grow into financially-responsible adults.
April is National Financial Capability Month, with a variety of national and local events organized to raise awareness of improving Americans’ financial literacy. The AICPA co-sponsored and exhibited at the April 25 Financial Literacy Day on Capitol Hill. The annual event brings together the leading national business, non- profits and federal government agencies who work to improve the nation’s financial literacy. AICPA staff promoted the profession’s efforts to more than 200 hundred Hill staff.