Pause For A Bit of Positive Financial News

With all the negative news we’ve heard lately about looming recessions and bank failures, it can be unnerving. So let’s all just pause for a bit of positive financial news. More states are adopting financial education requirements for public school students than ever before.

What is a Guarantee State?

Guarantee State refers to a state that requires as least one full semester of a personal finance course for graduation. As of March 2023, 17 states in our union are Guarantee States. Those states are: AL, FL, GA, IA, KS, MI, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, OH, RI, SC, TN, UT, and VA. Of that seventeen, only eight have fully implemented the program as yet. Once the others come on board, this action suggests that over 40% of US high school students will receive formal financial education. That is encouraging!

How Do We Learn Money Management Now?

The statement also begs the question: how are people learning money management now in those other 42 states? Well, like mowing the lawn or doing the laundry, we have been expected to learn this from our parents and/or observation.  But how has that been working out for us?

According to a recent GOBankingRates survey on financial literacy, more than 1 in 4 Americans have never talked about money management with their parents. For those other three or less Americans –  how reliable was the advice their parents passed on?

I was fortunate that my mom included me in the weekly bill paying ritual. I learned how to write a check. I learned about due dates and late fees. Unfortunately, no one mentioned that I would have a credit score to cultivate and protect. I learned about that the hard way, like most of us do. I learned consumer skills the same way, most of the time after struggling through a financial pitfall caused by my own poor decisions. Falling for a solicitor selling vacation packages taught me how to fight for my rights. Bouncing checks was an expensive lesson on how to schedule payments and budget. I learned but not without a hard lesson first.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if more of us could avoid that?

In The Meantime….

So as those nine states work hard to implement their financial courses for students, what can the rest of us do to learn proactively instead of reactively? I am so glad you asked!

There are a wide variety of places to learn money management. For instance, the Federal Trade Commission has helpful articles on their website. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has even more information on their website. For my fellow Floridians, our Ag & Consumer Services department website has some great resources too.  Of course, your County Extension office is there for you too.  We have handy publications on spending plans, credit use, estate planning and more at this website.  Just type your topic in the search bar and you will find research-based, non-biased information.  Also, you can take a University of Florida course on money management. You don’t even have to be a student to take advantage of these short, informative online classes.

Once you are comfortable with your good financial skills, be sure to tell others how you learned it. Its going to take a little while before those Guarantee States start graduating those financially savvy students. Plus, a lot of us won’t have the opportunity to learn that way.  Thank you for taking this pause to ponder a bit of positive financial news. You may now go back to regularly scheduled activities. 😉


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Posted: March 21, 2023

Category: , Money Matters, UF/IFAS Extension, Work & Life
Tags: Consumer Skills, Financial Education, Financial Literacy, Money, Money Management

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