Most financial literacy efforts in schools don't improve people's behavior later in life. That could be because we're focusing on the wrong things.

Trying to teach teenagers how to shop for a mortgage, for example, may be an exercise in futility. The information simply isn't relevant to them — yet. By the time they are ready to buy a home, the loans available and the rules surrounding them may have changed.

Instead, we should be teaching kids the habits that make savvy consumers. These four skills make a difference regardless of someone's circumstances or the economic climate:

Read Liz Weston's Article on cdapress.com >