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Friday, April 13, 2012

Financial Literacy, Taxes, and Economics Lessons

This evening I opened an email from Edutopia that contained a nice, simple infographic about the importance of financial literacy. The infographic has some basic statistics about the debt load carried by young people and how personal finance education can change those statistics. The infographic is really just a promotion for Edutopia's other materials about financial literacy. It also reminded me of some other resources for teaching students about personal finance and taxes. As the income tax filing deadline is just a few days away in the United States, I thought it would be good to highlight some resources for teaching about taxes too.



The IRS website, Understanding Taxes, is a good source of lesson plans and individual learning materials about taxes and budgets. In the teacher section of the site you will find lesson plans like this one (opens as pdf) designed to teach students about services for which tax revenue is used.

PBS Kids has a great lesson plan for introducing young students to the concepts of budgets and taxes. The lesson starts with a focus on the students' personal budget before moving onto the basic concepts of government budget.

At Where Did My Tax Dollars Go? you can enter your gross income for the year and your filing status to see a break down of where your dollars went. The break down includes an interactive pie chart that you can click on to find a further break down of each category on the chart. For example if you click on the National Defense section of the pie chart you will see how many of your dollars went to the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

Just where does of all the collected tax revenue go? What We Pay For has some answers to that question. What We Pay For uses publicly available tax data to show you how your tax money is appropriated. On the left side of the screen you will see the total revenue and appropriations for the entire United States. On the right side of the screen you can enter your filing status and pre-tax earnings for the year to see the approximate amount you will pay toward US budget items. You can enter your pre-tax earnings as an annual figure, monthly figure, weekly, daily, or hourly wage.

Visual Economics is a provider of articles and infographics about various economics-related topics. One of their better infographics is titled How Wealthy Countries Tax Their Citizens. The infographic depicts how the world's 29 wealthiest countries tax their citizens and how that money is spent.

For high school students, college students, and adults CNN's Explain It To Me video about the "Buffett Rule" explains why sometimes the super rich don't pay as high a percentage of their income in taxes as the rest of us.


And here you can find eleven economics infographics that I've highlighted in the past.

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