How Your State Is Teaching Kids Financial Literacy | National

Gone are the days when learning how to balance a checkbook in home economics class was enough to prepare young people for financial responsibility – if there was ever a time when that was true. Financial literacy is an undeniably valuable tool for navigating an increasingly digital and data-driven world. Online banking and investing are becoming more accessible, and dozens of financial apps can help users track their credit scores, account balances, and budgets in real time. But even with more tools available, income inequality continues to rise and student loan debt is valued at an all-time high $1.7 trillion nationwide.

Citing data from the Council for Economic Education, GoHenry looked at six types of laws mandating personal finance education across the country and outlined each state’s position on each.

Despite the fact that 83% of Americans believe parents are responsible to teach their kids about finances, very few actually talk to their kids about money, according to an April 2022 CNBC poll. In fact, 69% of parents say they are hesitant to discuss finances with their children. Because of this discomfort with talking about money, many children and young adults are only learning these financial concepts for the first time in school. But how schools cover personal finance varies depending on the state you live in, your school district, and your school’s resources.

According to Economic Education Council, which publishes national standards for teaching personal finance, important topics to include in financial literacy courses are income, spending, saving, investing, credit management, and risk management. But only about half of states require personal finance topics to be covered in schools.

According to a Milken Institute Report 2021, the inequality of the financial literacy landscape in the United States runs along racial, socio-economic, and gender lines; populations historically excluded from financial stability and prosperity are also less likely to have access to personal finance education, perpetuating a cycle of disempowerment.

Strengthening financial literacy in schools is becoming a growing priority for states and school districts across the country, and it’s a step in helping an individual understand financial fundamentals. But this alone is not enough to change the financial destiny of many young people. Systemic, often racial, inequalities are supported by intergenerational wealth and poverty. In other words, having access to personal finance knowledge is not the same as having money. Conversely, strong social assistance programsespecially during the COVID-19 pandemic, have significantly reduced poverty rates.

Read on to learn more about how financial literacy is taught in your state.

Sarah J. Greer