Argument Research Essay Proposal
December 25, 2020
Argument Research Essay Proposal
Mandatory personal finance education for children in K-12
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
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:
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–
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