Do Not Teach A Course In Financial Literacy In High School

Oct. 03, 2018 2:16 PM ET3 Comments
John Lohr profile picture
John Lohr


  • What do you do about our kids learning a life skill?  A high school class isn't it.
  • See if you pass FINRA's financial Literacy test, below. If not, don't admit it.
  • Who is equipped to help the next generation?  You are.

Financial literacy is the understanding of money such as taxes, savings, bills, retirement, budgeting and paying for school and investing.

But, according to FINRA (you remember our friendly broker SRO), 70% of Americans can not pass this simple test of basic financial principles:

1. Suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was 2% per year. After five years, how much do you think you would have in the account if you left the money to grow? (A) More than $102. (B) Exactly $102. (C) Less than $102.

2. Imagine that the interest rate on your savings account was 1% per year and inflation was 2% per year. After one year, how much would you be able to buy with the money in this account? (A) More than today. (B) Exactly the same. (C) Less than today.

3. True or False: Buying a single company's stock usually provides a safer return than a stock mutual fund.

If you don’t answer these correctly, don’t admit it. Answers are at the bottom of this article.

“Wait a minute,” you say, “doesn’t this refute your headline.”

“No,” he said, “it proves it."

“Explain,” say you.

“If I don’t, I have nothing to write about”, say I.

We know Americans in general are poor in managing their financial-related issues. For instance, we have:

Over $1 trillion in credit card debt ($6,375 per consumer).

$1.4 Trillion in student loan debt. (2016 graduates have an average of $37,172 in student loan debt).

Many of us believe that financial literacy is a core life skill that should be taught in every school and college.

“Wait another minute,” you say “you’re contradicting yourself.”

“No, just keep reading,” say I.

Here are some expert takes:

“State mandates requiring high school students to take a personal

This article was written by

John Lohr profile picture
JOHN LOHR John is widely regarded as a top legal expert on fiduciary responsibility relating to the investment management profession, John is a founding father of the investment management consultant's profession and has personally trained over 100,000 financial professionals. Additionally, he has counseled major Wall Street firms and associations in various aspects of managed account programs, and has trained and consulted to firms on corporate legal, compliance, fiduciary responsibilities and business development issues specific to the investment management industry. A former Banker and teacher and college adjunct, John started his securities representation in 1983, joining EF Hutton in 1987 where he served as the director of Portfolio Management Programs and General Counsel of the Consulting Group. Later, he started his own law firm, specializing in employee benefit, ERISA law and securities law. In 1995, he co-founded The Lockwood Group of companies, where he served as Chief General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, as well as President of Lockwood Financial Services, Inc. Upon retiring from Lockwood in 2002, John devoted his efforts to Howling Wolf Enterprises, a training company and a publisher of books and articles on Investment and Financial issues as well as fiction. In 2011 with partners known in the Investment management business he founded The Learning Network, whose mission is to improve Financial Literacy globally for financial professionals and investors. His current mission is The Ethical Treatment of Somebody Else’s Money, found at In 2010 the Money Management Institute designated him an "architect of the managed solutions industry" awarding him their Pioneer award for Lifetime Achievement in Wealth Management.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: We are MoneyCulture, a 501c-3 educational charity that teaches personal finance in person, online and in seminars and writings--all pro bono. See

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