Federal Government Programs

A number of financial education initiatives have been undertaken by the Federal Government. Here are just a few of the programs the various agencies have developed.


National Financial Capability Challenge

The National Financial Capability Challenge is an awards program designed to increase the financial knowledge and capability of high school aged youth across the United States so they can take control over their financial futures. It challenges high school teachers and other educators to teach the basics of personal finance to their students, and rewards students, educators, schools, and states for their participation and their success. Educators and top-scoring students will receive award certificates, and schools and states with the highest participation rates will earn special distinction.
The Challenge is designedTo better navigate their financial futures and be prepared to make smart choices, students need to learn more about earning and spending, saving and investing, using credit wisely, avoiding fraud, paying for college, and more.

Over 84,000 students participated in the spring of 2011. It took the average student less than 30 minutes to complete.

Educator Toolkit

The Treasury Department worked with a group of leading experts to create the following Educator Toolkit. It is designed to provide you with a selection of classroom-ready materials that you can use to help students develop the personal finance knowledge and skills they need to improve their financial skills and futures (which will also prepare them for the National Financial Capability Challenge). The knowledge and skills taught in these lessons are aligned with the Core Competencies as outlined by the Treasury Department.

Financial Education Core Competencies


Gross versus net pay
Understand your paycheck, including deductions

Benefits and taxes
Learn about taxes and any workplace benefits

Education enhances your earning power
Invest in your education

Sources of income
Make informed decisions about work, investments, and asset accumulation


Know how to prioritize spending choices given available resources
Set financial goals
Track spending habits
Develop a spending plan (budget)
Live within your means
Comparison shop

Long-term versus short-term implications of spending
Understand the effects of spending decisions on yourself and others

Appropriate purpose and use of transaction (checking) accounts
Establish and effectively maintain a relationship with a government-insured financial institution

Saving and Investing

Understand how compounding helps saved money to grow
Start saving early
Pay yourself first

Understand the time value of money
Compare different saving and investing options

Know about federally insured savings accounts/certificates of deposit
Build an emergency savings account

Know about non-deposit investment products (bonds, stocks, mutual funds)
Balance risk, return, and liquidity when making saving and investment choices

How to meet financial goals and build assets
Save for retirement, education, and other needs
Save/invest for short-term and long-term goals
Track savings/investments and monitor what you own


If you borrow now, you pay back more later
Plan, understand, and shop around for a loan with the lowest rate and best terms for you
Understand when and how to use credit effectively

The cost of borrowing is based on how risky the lender thinks you are (credit score)
Understand how information in your credit report and your credit score impacts you Plan and meet your payment obligations
Track borrowing habits
Analyze renting/leasing versus owning assets (e.g. home or car)


How to manage risks from potential losses or unexpected events
Choose appropriate insurance
Build up an emergency fund
Consult a qualified/appropriate professional for help when needed

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
Avoid practices that are not in your financial best-interest
Critically analyze advertisements and offers before acting
Evaluate advertisements or offers before acting

Fraud/scams/Identity theft
Protect your identity
Avoid fraud and scams
Review your credit report every 12 months

External Resources

  • MyMoney.Gov Created by the FLEC, this is the one stop shop for the federal government’s financial education resources.
  • We recognize that increasing financial capability cannot be achieved by the federal government alone. We need to work closely with our communities and with groups who are working in them, including state and local government, financial institutions, non-profit organizations, and other community-based organizations. Through the FLEC, the Department, along with the Office of Personnel Management, convenes a National Financial Education Network of state and local government entities and their associations interested in topics related to financial education. This group shares ideas among members and with the federal agencies which participate.