Financial illiteracy has always been a crisis not only in the United States but also across the world. The latest financial literacy statistics in the US showed a bleak picture of a financially illiterate citizenry that doesn’t even have a basic understanding of the fundamentals of financial management and its importance. And we wonder why there are so many people with financial problems seeking credit repair solutions?
What’s more alarming about this is that instead of seeing a vigorous effort in promoting financial literacy across the schools in the nation, personal finance courses are actually undermined. The “National Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools” by the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College showed that only 5 states (10%) gained an A (or put personal finance course as a state-wide mandate) while 11 states (22%) failed altogether. According to the statistics, only 16.4% of students nationwide are required to enroll in a personal finance course in order to graduate and that roughly half of these students are found in Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia alone. More so, only 1 in every 12 students from a low-income school receive required financial education and that only 1 in every 20 students from the nation’s lowest income students are required to receive personal finance coursework.
These negative financial statistics speak volumes about how much we really need to address the severely dismal financial literacy rate in our nation. Proper financial knowledge is a fundamental part that affects how we fare in the future. It is the confluence of everything we need in order to make responsible financial decisions. That’s why I find it aggravating that some people think that financial education is a mere nuisance in their children’s education – that they should focus instead on learning their sciences and maths and not personal finance. That it shouldn’t be formally taught in schools. But what’s the point in becoming a renowned biologist or surgeon if you can’t even properly manage your finances?
High schools are the most viable places to learn how to manage finances. Before these young ones graduate, they should already be exposed to the inner workings of finance management, credits, debits, investments, and good money habits in order to have a stable and financially secure future once they grow up into adults. Do not wait for them to grow up and have them go for credit counseling because they fell into a financial pitfall. Financial literacy is more than just understanding how credit cards really work or learning how to budget. It can practically change your perception of a lot of things and how you deal with them. Appreciating personal wealth and knowing the consequences of bad financial decisions does not only impact the individual or the party involved, it also affects the nation as a whole.
It’s highly critical that we as a nation and as a community should change our perceptions of financial literacy and credit counseling. We should put more effort in improving our nation’s negative statistics and empower people through financial education or Credit Counseling because it won’t only be you who’ll benefit but the world as a whole.