Failing Our Children? A Personal Finance Class Is Only Required in These 24 States

Rear view of female student sitting in the class and raising hand up to ask question during lecture.
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The stereotypes about millennials and financial planning may be true, according to some studies. One survey discovered that the average millennial spends 150 more hours on social media than they spend managing their finances, GOBankingRates previously reported. And, when it comes to personal finance, the future doesn’t hold a lot of promise for the next generations set to graduate college, either.

Only 23 states currently require students to have any instruction in personal finance before graduating. What’s worse, in the two years since the Survey of the States was published by the Council for Economic Education, only two states added a personal finance course requirement for graduation.

Of the 23 states requiring personal finance instruction, only 10 have a standalone course requirement, while the rest integrate coursework into another class. Is your state on the list for required personal finance instruction?

Standalone High School Course Required

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Virginia

Coursework Integrated Into Another Course

  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • South Carolina
  • Texas

If your state is not on this list, there are steps you can take to advocate for personal finance education. The CEE report stated, “Effective personal financial education requires both the force of state-level action and the flexibility of community-based implementation.”

First, if your school district offers financial education, but it’s not required, encourage your children to take the class. Discuss what they are learning at home. Implement methods so they can start practicing personal finance. You might consider giving them their own debit card and a savings account so they can learn to manage money.

Make Your Money Work for You

Secondly, get involved in your community. Write to your school board and superintendent to request a personal finance courses for your school or district. Also, write to state legislators and advocate for statewide requirements, while allowing districts to set their own curriculum that is appropriate for the people within their community.

Finally, advocate at the state and local level for your district’s teachers to get the professional development they want and need to teach personal finance as part of a well-rounded curriculum.

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