High School Curriculum Must Include Personal Finance

The holiday season can be festive and exciting, but it can also be stressful. The hustle and bustle alone can be overwhelming, and gift shopping and other holiday expenses can also be stressful.

The added pressure of the holiday season only exacerbates the financial strain many families face throughout the year.

The current situation is anything but cheerful and bright. According to Experian, the average American consumer’s debt balance is more than $92,000; total consumer debt in the nation is approaching $15 trillion. Bankrate published a survey that showed that only 39% of Americans could pay for an emergency expense of $1,000 using their savings. A recent report from the Federal Reserve revealed that a quarter of the nation’s non-retired adults have nothing saved for retirement.

All of these statistics are indicative of a deep need for better financial management among many American families. Here in Michigan, we can help chart a new course and empower people to avoid the pitfalls of personal finance. We can do this by giving people the tools and insights to manage their resources wisely.

Diana Farrington (R-Utica) represents Michigan's 30th House District.  She chairs the House Financial Services Committee.

That’s why the Michigan House of Representatives recently approved my bipartisan plan to help prevent this dismal state of financial affairs from dominating future generations. House Bill 5190 will address financial unpreparedness at its source by teaching youth the necessary knowledge and skills before they reach adulthood.

Traditional academic subjects such as math, science, history, and English equip students with a general foundation of knowledge for future studies or jobs. But strangely absent from our core curriculum is a course with a direct and practical application for everyone: Personal finance students already take a personal finance course, but leaving this essential subject as an optional hardly takes the problem of financial failure seriously. . And many students who would choose to take a personal finance class go to schools that don’t offer that option.

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