Review of Youth Financial Education by CFPB

A recent CFPB review of youth financial education illuminates specific tools to advance financial education research.

Building personal financial capability early in life gives people a foundation for later-life financial well-being. Schools are an important channel to provide education to improve financial capability. Yet, financial educators and policymakers face many decisions about whether and how to implement financial education.

Strong research can ground these decisions and inform stakeholders of the rigorous evidence that exists on financial education in schools. This report responds to the question: “What evidence has been established that can guide efforts to provide young people with effective financial education?”

Main Takeaways:
Well-implemented state financial education mandates led to a clear improvement in financial behaviors.

Many U.S. financial education programs improve financial knowledge for students, though success varies based on the population served, amount of instruction time, and topics covered.

Other countries have used more widespread randomized controlled trials to study the effects of financial education programs as they embed and expand them broadly. Those studies also provide useful information.

While the report sets the stage for understanding the types of rigorous research that has been done in the school setting, our Youth Financial Education Research Priorities lays out key unanswered research questions in youth financial education identified by a range of stakeholders.