Florida bill would make financial literacy a graduation requirement
The class would cover balancing checkbooks, filling out loan applications, inheritance, insurance, calculating federal income tax, and “disputing an incorrect billing statement,” among other topics. . The bill aims to “better prepare the youth of this state for adulthood by providing them with the knowledge necessary to achieve financial stability.”
Another version of the bipartisan bill is being vetted in the Florida Senate.
The bill — along with similar education laws passed in other states, such as Virginia — aims to address a national problem: Many Americans suffer from financial illiteracy. The differences in levels of financial literacy according to socio-demographic criteria are also much greater in the United States than in other developed countries, a recent report from the Milken Institute.
“The financial literacy gap between men and women in the United States is about 37% wider than the [38-country Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] average and about 59% wider than the global average,” wrote the authors of a 2021 report published by the think tank. “Inequality in financial literacy among adults is relatively high in the United States,” they said, even compared to emerging economies.
The problem is marked among young people, according to the Council for Economic Education, a New York-based nonprofit whose mission is “to equip students in kindergarten through 12th grade with the tools and knowledge of personal finance and economics so they can make better decisions.”
One in six students are not achieving “the basic level of proficiency in financial literacy”, according to the group.
Even one in four millennials – an age group well into adulthood – spend more than they earn. About two-thirds of this generation “have less than 3 months of emergency funds”, says the council.
Florida’s bill passed the State House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee and Secondary Education and Career Development Subcommittee this month. It will be seen by the Education and Employment Committee on Wednesday and must be supported by the House and Senate prosecutors.