What are Personal Finance Big Ideas?

Essential Personal Finance Concepts That Can Be Integrated Into Teaching of the Common Core

Personal Finance Big Ideas are critical aspects of personal finance that can be appropriately integrated into teaching the Common Core State Standards and can lead to increases in young people’s financial capability.

Personal Finance Big Ideas:

  • Generate action or fuller understanding. For example, an understanding of compound interest can lead to the actions of savings and reducing debt.
  • Focus on important personal finance knowledge and skills our students must acquire to be financially capable young adults
  • Draw from the best existing guidance to the field. Sources include the Council for Economic Education’s recently released National Standards for Personal Finance, the National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education Standards housed at Jump$tart, the Pisa Financial Literacy Assessment Framework, Money as You Grow and other resources.


Understanding these


Leads to these


Grade Band Coverage


Last Updated: 03/20/2013
Compound Interest

Saving and understanding the importance of starting early

Debt management

Opportunity Cost

Effective decision-making

Recognition of options foregone

Value of Education

Investment in variety of human capital


Diversification of portfolio

Understanding appropriate levels of protection

Purchase of insurance products

What Is Money

Ability to use money

Understanding value of money

Time Value of Money

More informed purchasing

More appropriate investing

Ability to use time horizon to plan

Cost/Benefit Analysis

Better decision-making


Its appropriate use in investment in education, housing, and purchasing

Setting Goals

Purposeful, more achievable outcomes

Delayed Gratification

Ability to consume things in the future that are unattainable in the present


Acknowledging limitations and making choices


Ability to mitigate its effects with respect to investments, assumption of debt, and purchasing decisions