By the time most kids get through with their education, they step into the working world saddled with debt that runs into the tens of thousands of dollars. The fact is that many kids are horribly unequipped to start dealing with personal finance, since the step is often moving out of the family home once college is over. You would think that passing on the knowledge of how to manage money before that occurs would be a good thing, yet finances are never really mentioned until it’s all too late. That may be something that is about to change, as high schools in Florida are looking at adding personal finance into their curriculum.
Kids in Florida will now have to take a course in financial literacy as part of their economics studies. Social studies students graduate with 3 credits once they complete the course, but Senate Bill 1076 now dictates that the half credit they get from economics must also include a part about personal finance. While there are those that would argue that this isn’t something that should necessarily be written into law, proponents of the bill agree that this is a great way to prepare students for the real world they will face once school is over.
The harsh reality is that too many people find themselves in financial difficulties because they are unaware of how certain finances work. Credit cards are a major problem in this area, with college students often racking up huge debts that are harder to pay off than their student loans. Yes, going to college and getting an education is expensive, but it shouldn’t have to cripple you for the next 10-20 years of your life. That is what the state of Florida is hoping to teach kids by making this financial literacy course part of the curriculum.
The personal literacy program contains a ton of great tip regarding how to manage money, including such things as budgeting, calculating interest, how to manage credit, building up savings and looking out for identity fraud. The latter in particular is incredibly important, as we now live in a world where much of our personal and financial information is online. Since today’s students now spend so much time online, it’s important they are aware of how their finances can be impacted by those who would look to steak their identity.
The main reason why Florida took the step to add the personal finance course to the high school curriculum came from the fact that a report issued in 2011 showed that Florida college students finished school with an average of $23,000 in debt. The fact that most colleges don’t require students to take any kind of finance course also prompted the decision. Studies have shown that kids nowadays are accruing more credit card debt while taking longer to pay it off. Florida schools feel it is their place to try and nip that in the bud before it becomes an issue. Only time will tell if their plans will succeed.