Author: Don Obrien

Hawaii DOE | HIDOE seeking feedback to develop financial literacy content standards


Financial literacy, or financial capability as it is currently defined at the federal level, is the capacity, based on knowledge, skills and access, to manage financial resources effectively. To develop this capacity, individuals must have appropriate access to and understanding of financial products, services, and concepts. Financial literacy empowers individuals to make informed choices, avoid pitfalls, know where to go for help, and take actions to improve their present and long-term financial well-being.

The Hawaii State Department of Education, Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design, is currently investigating ways to ensure
every student receives basic financial literacy before high school graduation. At this time, efforts are focused on financial literacy education at the high school level.

As part of this work, draft content standards have been curated for a one-semester introductory level high school course on financial literacy designed to help students develop the capacity to describe, analyze, and evaluate many financial topics that most students will directly experience in their personal and professional lives. While a one-semester course is not the only way in which financial literacy education can be provided to students, the standards are a vital step toward ensuring consistent financial literacy education across the state.

The content standards
are derived from the 2017 edition of the
National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education (pdf, pictured to the right) from the Jump$tart Coalition. These standards are consistent with both state- and nationally-recognized concepts that are important to healthy financial literacy.

The themes are aligned to the six major categories utilized in Jump$tartʻs National Standards: 1) Spending and Saving; 2) Credit and Debt; 3) Employment and Income; 4) Investing; 5) Risk Management and Insurance; and 6) Financial Decision Making.

The sample teacher guidance is a list of skills gleaned from Jump$tartʻs benchmarks which describes what teachers may ask students to demonstrate in order to meet each content standard. The guidance is not intended to serve as an all-inclusive list; rather, the guidance serves as a sample set of statements for teachers to consider how to best help their students meet the content standards.

Special thanks to Kelly Lee, founder of the Hawaii Coalition of Jump$tart, for lending her content area expertise to this effort.

​​THEME 1: Spending and Saving

Content Standard

The student shall:

​Sample Teacher Guidance

To help students meet the Content Standard, the teacher may ask students to:

​Content Standard MD.PFL.1.1

Develop a plan for spending and saving.

  • ​Describe ways that people can decrease expenses to save more of their incomes.
  • Discuss the components of a personal spending plan, including income, planned saving and expenses.
  • Compare the advantages and disadvantages of saving for financial goals.
  • Investigate changes in personal spending behavior that contribute to wealth building.

​Content Standard MD.PFL.1.2

Describe how to use different payment methods.

  • Compare and contrast different types of local financial institutions and the services they provide.
  • Summarize the advantages and disadvantages of checks, stored value cards, debit cards, gift cards and online and mobile payment systems.
  • Compare the costs of cashing a check with various third parties, such as a bank or credit union, check-cashing services and retail outlets.
  • Demonstrate how to schedule and manage bill payments.

THEME 2: Credit and Debt

Content Standard

The student shall:

​Sample Teacher Guidance

To help students meet the Content Standard, the teacher may ask students to:

​Content Standard MD.PFL.2.1

Analyze the costs and benefits of various types of credit.

  • ​Explain how debit cards differ from credit cards.
  • Discuss potential consequences of using “easy access” credit.
  • Calculate the total cost of repaying a loan under various rates of interest and over different periods.
  • Compare the cost of borrowing $1,000 by means of different consumer credit options.

Content Standard MD.PFL.2.2

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

  • ​Weigh the potential payoffs of a positive borrowing reputation versus the potential consequences of a poor
    borrowing reputation.
  • Explain the value of credit reports to borrowers and to lenders.
  • Categorize the information in a credit report and how long it is retained.
  • Analyze how a credit score affects creditworthiness and the cost of credit.

THEME 3: Employment and Income

Content Standard

The student shall:

​Sample Teacher Guidance

To help students meet the Content Standard, the teacher may ask students to:

​ Content Standard MD.PFL.3.1

Explore job and career options.

  • ​Explain the difference between a career and a job.
  • Match personal skills and interests to various career options.
  • Compare the education and training requirements, income potential and primary duties of at least two jobs of interest.
  • Discuss how non-income factors such as child-care options, cost of living and work conditions can influence job choice.

​ Content Standard MD.PFL.3.2

Compare sources of personal income and compensation.

  • ​Explain the difference between a wage and a salary.
  • Calculate the future income needed to maintain a current standard of living.
  • Identify typical sources of income in retirement.

​THEME 4: Investing​

Content Standard

The student shall:

​Sample Teacher Guidance

To help students meet the Content Standard, the teacher may ask students to:

Content Standard MD.PFL.4.1

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

● Describe reasons for investing.

● Devise an investment plan for accumulating money for a major expense such as a college education or the down payment on a car.

● Describe the importance of various sources of income in retirement, including Social Security, employer-sponsored retirement savings plans and personal investments.

Content Standard MD.PFL.4.2

Evaluate investment alternatives.

● Explain the difference between stocks and bonds.

● Give examples of investments for current income and investments for future growth.

● Compare the advantages of taxable, tax-deferred and tax-advantaged investments for new savers, including Roth IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement vehicles.

THEME 5: Risk Management and Insurance

Content Standard

The student shall:

​​Sample Teacher Guidance

To help students meet the Content Standard, the teacher may ask students to:

Content Standard MD.PFL.5.1

Identify common types of risks and basic risk management methods.

  • Predict the consequences of accepting risk with insufficient or no insurance.
  • Illustrate how to use insurance to share the risk of financial loss.
  • Discuss factors that affect insurancepremiums.

Content Standard MD.PFL.5.2

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

  • ​Justify reasons to have health insurance.
  • Compare sources of health and disability insurance coverage, including employee benefit plans.
  • Explain the purpose of long-term care insurance.

THEME 6: Financial Decision Making

Content Standard

The student shall:

​Sample Teacher Guidance

To help students meet the Content Standard, the teacher may ask students to:

Content Standard MD.PFL.6.1

Recognize the responsibilities associated with personal financial decisions.

  • ​Analyze money-handling decisions that young adults commonly face.
  • Compare the benefits of financial responsibility with the consequences of financial irresponsibility.
  • Predict how influences such as current fashion trends, peer pressure and procrastination can affect financial decisions.
  • Compare how financial responsibility is different for individuals with and without dependents.

​Content Standard MD.PFL.6.2

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

  • ​Explain how limited personal financial resources affect the choices people make.
  • Determine the cost of achieving a financial goal.
  • Give examples of how decisions made today can affect future opportunities.

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