More States Mandate Financial Literacy Programs

What’s one way we can help the economy from slipping deeper into the recession and prevent it from happening in the near future? Educate our youth with personal money management skills.

In the 2011-12 school year, Virginia will become the fourth state that mandates financial education, among Missouri, Utah, and Tennessee. Other states are also working toward becoming part of the financial literacy movement but currently only require teachers to incorporate personal finance lessons in other classes.

In a recent Teens & Money Survey by Charles Schwab, researchers found 16-to-18-year-olds and their parents have tendency to get their priorities mixed. Teens are more likely to have an iPod, cellphone or computer than a checking or savings account. Parents are also more likely to lecture their kids about cleaning their rooms and drugs and alcohol than they are to discuss personal money management skills. Money is the number one reason couples get divorced. It can also cause unhappiness, stress, and crime. Teens have much cooler things to do than talk finances and parents have more issues to discuss with their teens than minutes in the day, but somewhere along the line both parties need to see the importance of understanding finances for the present and future.

When students don’t learn financial skills at home or in the classroom, they go out into the world without the skills they need to succeed. Students graduating from high school are bombarded with college loan offers, credit card offers, and a new freedom that tells them to buy buy buy. Should they accept a private loan? Do they know what an interest rate is? An investment? A budget sheet?

You don’t have to wait until financial literacy programs become mandated in your state to start teaching a new generation how to be smart about money. LifeBound’s new book DOLLARS AND SENSE can be taught to teens in the classroom or independently read at home. Teens learn about finances from real professionals, the mistakes of others, real-world math problems, fast facts, and more that all align to the financial literacy standards developed by the Jump$tart Coalition.

How are you teaching Generation Y about finances?


McDermott, Casey. “States start to require courses in financial literacy.” USA Today. Accessed on August 17, 2011 from <>

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