National Financial Management Core Competencies


The Department of the Treasury developed this list of Core Competencies for financial educators. The five areas are: Earning, Spending, Saving, Borrowing, and Protecting. Each blog post on Dollar Decisions, includes the Core Competencies discussed in that post.


Knowledge: Gross versus net pay, benefits and taxes, education is important.

Behavior: understanding your paycheck, learning about potential benefits and taxes, investing in your future.


Knowledge: The difference between needs and wants.

Behavior: Develop a spending plan, track spending habits, live within your means, understand the social and environmental impacts of your spending decisions.


Knowledge: Saved money grows, know about transactional accounts (checking), know about financial assets (saving accounts, bonds, stocks, mutual funds), how to meet long-term goals and grow your wealth.

Behavior: Start saving early, pay yourself first, understand and establish a relationship with the financial system, comparison shop, balance risk and return, save for retirement, children’s education, and other needs, plan for long term goals, track savings and monitor what you own.


Knowledge: If you borrow now, you pay back more later. The cost of borrowing is based on how risky the lender thinks you are (based on your credit score).

Behavior: Avoid high-cost borrowing, plan, understand and shop around, understand how information in your credit score affects borrowing, plan and meet your payment obligations, track borrowing habits, analyze renting versus owning a home.


Knowledge: Act now to protect yourself from potential catastrophe later, identity theft/fraud/scams.

Behavior: Chose appropriate insurance, build up an emergency fund, shop around, protect your identity, avoid fraud and scams, review your credit report.


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