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Every child in the United States is entitled to a free, compulsory K-12 Education. During those twelve years, many students go through various advanced math courses, rigorous AP classes, and take standardized testing scattered throughout their four years of high school. There are many controversial arguments about the utility of subjects in school post-graduation. However, one important topic rarely taught in school is financial literacy.
As students get ready to enter the real world, it is important that they have the skills and the knowledge to make smart financial decisions. A required personal finance class in high school can help students learn about the importance of financial responsibility and managing their money wisely. Even though schools often have subjects like economics and business-oriented mathematics, these classes lack individual focus on the actual student making the decisions. Economics courses are mainly related to interpersonal businesses and Business Math relates mostly to fundamental algebra and percentages.
Financial literacy classes teach students the basics of money management: budgeting, saving, debt, and investing. Students can use the skills learned to build strong money habits early on and avoid many of the mistakes that lead to lifelong money struggles. Students will face challenging everyday situations regarding money and having fundamental financial knowledge is key to making informed decisions, like where to attend college and how to plan for retirement.
One of the proponents of a financial literacy class, Dave Ramsey, created his company called Ramsey Solutions to help people become financially literate across the country. According to the company’s website, “millions of Americans struggle every day with their money” and “at least 78% of people are living paycheck to paycheck, often turning to their credit cards to make ends meet.” Ramsey has been teaching financial literacy courses since 1992 and states that 2 out of 3 students who took any financial literacy course could improve their income by a minimum of 10%.
Moreover, an abundance of resources exist for schools to adopt a financial literacy classes. A financial literacy website called Everfi.com has a free, seven lesson plan teaching students how to calculate credit scores, evaluate risk management, invest for retirement, manage debt, and a simulation Turbotax for filing personal income taxes.
Ultimately, knowing how to save and invest money is an extremely important skill to have in our increasingly complex world. Starting with classes in school, educators across the nation should adopt financial literacy classes to prepare students for their futures and the lives that lie ahead of them.