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Argument Research Essay Proposal

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Sally Student

English 147

Professor McAmazing

December 25, 2020

Argument Research Essay Proposal

Narrowed Topic:

Mandatory personal finance education for children in K-12

Research Question:

At what ages are kids most likely to embrace and benefit from personal finance


Tentative Claim/Thesis (Situated in a Valid Debate):

While requiring personal finance education for children and teens would admittedly

create costs and would indeed necessitate the difficult process of making core

curriculum changes, the value of mandatory personal finance education needs to be

fully recognized and acted upon with urgency.

Rationale and Research Plan – Background, Overview, Approach, Research Plan,

and Possible Complications:

Background and Overview:

The American approach to personal finance education for children has

traditionally been that parents either do or do not teach their children about money and

model good financial behavior. Those raised in well-managed households or in

households grounded in financial savviness (parents running a business, for example),

have always had more tools to succeed financially as young adults and a better chance at

not ruining their financial futures in those early adult years, as so many others do. This

is a key point in which to ground my argument because financial failure is largely

cyclical. Parents who were raised without those models and without money lessons in

the home will not recognize finance education as a part of parenting their own children.

Because of this, millions begin (and often continue) their adult lives disadvantaged

without truly understanding why.

So, I would like to look very closely at how crippling an absence of personal

finance education truly is for children in K-12 grades. I would also like to get more

granular by pinpointing specific ages at which kids are most likely to find this education

relevant and at which they are developmentally most able to not just learn about personal

finance, but also to grasp the relevance and applicability. I wish to help people understand

that a lack of education is a major reason behind many financial missteps, that these

missteps do make or break adults’ chances for success, and that we therefore must value

this type of education as much as we do other types, like math, sciences, physical

education, and the humanities.

As I begin thinking about practical approaches to a strong and effective argument

research essay on this topic, my thoughts for research turn to what I do and do not know.

I hear people around me discuss this topic and note a need for it, so I want to see how

what I hear anecdotally transfers to what is actually happening (and not). I also can

anticipate opposing viewpoints, like costs for mandatory personal finance education vs.

the need for it not balancing in the minds of some. I know that people in charge of policy

changes may be successful people with good personal finance skills and therefore may

have to be convinced that financial know-how is a privilege, not a given. If I can discover

whether my initial guesses are on-target in those areas, I will be much more effective.

Then, because I want to study key target ages for financial education, I will need to

discover what experts say about child and teen development, psychology, and readiness

to learn.

Because I am early in this process and am staying open to discovery, I can only

make intelligent guesses about possible complications I might face with this project. One

of the unknowns, for example, is what we already have in place now for personal finance

education in K-12. I need to understand, too, how and at what level education policy

changes like this happen. I don’t want to write about something that sounds great in

theory, but that is absolutely impossible to achieve. So, while I may need to adjust my

approach based on these possible complications, my hope is that I can find a way to fit

my ideas and arguments into a framework that is doable. I will remain open to shifting

focus should that need arise.

Initial Source Collection Table: Supporting and Opposing

Supporting Viewpoint Source:

Your Position:

Because so many children and teens are

raised without personal finance education in

the home, and because that gap sets millions

of young adults up for failure, the need for

personal finance education in schools is


One supporting point, then, will involve

proving that required personal finance

education does reduce potentially disastrous

behavior, like taking out payday loans.

Opposing Viewpoint Source:

Possible Opposing Viewpoints:

I have found that even very recent studies

sometimes reject economic inequality as a reason

for needing mandatory personal finance education.

This will certainly be an opposing viewpoint I will


Source Quoted with Signal Phrase and


For example, Harvey (2019) finds that

“financial education mandates particularly

reduce payday borrowing among emerging

adults” (p. 753).

Source Quoted with Signal Phrase and Citation:

Nahmoon and Mountain (2019) report, after

conducting a study on the topic, that their “preferred

model indicates that income level has no effect on the

objective financial knowledge level” (p. 1967).



Harvey, M. (2019). Impact of financial education mandates on younger consumers’

use of alternative financial services. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 53(3), 731–

769. https://doi.org/10.1111/joca.12242

Nahmoon, K., & Mountain, T. P. (2019). Financial knowledge and ‘don’t know’

response. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 54(4), 1948-1969.

  • Initial Source Collection Table: Supporting and Opposing

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