Report Card On Personal Finance Education Nationwide

Less than a week ago, Tennessee voted to require a personal finance class of all graduating high school students, starting with this year’s seventh graders. Unfortunately, less than 20% of states have similar requirements. We’ve made a fancy-schmancy graphic to show which states are teaching tomorrow’s citizens how to manage money, and which states are likely to be great places to set up payday loan shops. Inside, see the chart nice and big.

Source: “A Report Card on the Nation: Survey of the States” [National Council on Economic Education]

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  1. Trump48257 says:

    Yay! I’m actually proud of something my state (TN) did regarding education :)

  2. shan6 says:

    Hmm, Michigan wasn’t in the “credit card” area when I graduated high school.

  3. chiieddy says:

    Nor was New Jersey.

  4. Nighthawk Foo says:

    Payday lending is illegal in NY – you won’t find the quickie loan places that exist in other states.

  5. tozmervo says:

    I’m happy that TN joined the ranks, but I’d like them to throw in a crack down on predatory lending, too. Its a joke that such a criminal act isn’t.

  6. bohemian says:

    SD has this in high school. Some schools area also implementing additional aspects of this in math and other related classes. Our teenager has learned to balance a checkbook and they are doing taxes in class this year. He gets plenty of this at home too. We use things like credit cards advertising, the sub prime loan mess and all the pay day loan places as a conversation starter about why these places exist and how they cause problems for consumers.
    The best learning experience he has had yet was getting his own cell phone. Having to budget minutes and dispute charges sure woke him up.

  7. firefoxx66 says:

    I’m from TX – my ‘financial education’ (in jr high, approx 8 years ago) consisted of learning to write a check and balance a checkbook. Obviously, those are skills I use all the time now, while I’m ordering from Amazon and NewEgg

  8. PatrickIs2Smart says:

    Poor Virginia… I guess that’s why we have payday loan places in so many places…

  9. robotprom says:

    thue funny thing is when I graduated from high school in TN back in 94, we had to take a class that had personal finance in it’s curriculum. I guess TN got rid of it, then saw the effect of not having it, and decided they needed to have it.

    Kind of like how schools got rid of gym, the kids got fat and diabetic, and now surprise! Gym is back on the lesson plan.

  10. forgottenpassword says:

    Yay! Missouri!

    Now let the midwest/southern “fly-over-state” bashing commence!

  11. Starfury says:

    Nice to see that California/Nevada don’t have this…and they’re 2 of the states with the largest number of foreclosures/subprime loans.

    Since I can’t count on the educational system to teach my kids about money I’m doing it myself.

  12. no.no.notorious says:

    good, this is something, my dad and i have been talking about for years. before going to college, all teenagers should know SOMETHING about finance, like what an interest rate is and what a CD is.

  13. Kurtz says:

    My financial education in California consisted of a two week long personal finance “unit”. It was part of Home Economics, a semester long class that used to be required in Junior High (I don’t know if it still is). I recall it being kind of pointless – we learned more about how to make a shopping list than balancing a checkbook.

  14. anatak says:

    Now can we see a map overlay of states offering or requiring PF educations where the curriculum was written by a group that profits from poor financial decisions?

    [unsugarcoated]
    How many states took the pay-off, left the fox in the hen house, and are using the free curriculum from the credit card companies?

    Or does the credit card icon have a meaning other than the one shown in the key?

  15. ancientsociety says:

    I mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again – I grew up in IL and “Consumer Finance” was one of my favorite HS classes (and I hated math in general).

    This should be a requirement in all states, that’s how we make sure we have a strong economy in the future and never run into this whole “mortgage meltdown” again.

  16. ShortBus says:

    I’m serious when I say they ought to rename the class to “How to become a Millionaire” in high school rather than “Personal Finance”. You’d get a lot more people signing up and a lot more paying attention.

  17. Berz says:

    In MO your senior year you are required to take a class that teaches you saving for retirement, how to balance your accounts, and the basics about mortgages and lending.

  18. BaysideWrestling says:

    I know MD offers Consumer Ec, because I taught it for two years at my HS. MD does electives on a county by county basis, so most counties probably don’t offer it. But I know we do in my county.

  19. BaysideWrestling says:

    As far as the curric offered by credit card companies, and I know I will take a TON of crap for this, but the material offered by Visa really isn’t that bad.

    Take a look – practicalmoneyskills.com is by Visa. And yeah, I used some of their stuff. Mostly the worksheets. And honestly, I didn’t see a lot of bias toward unwise use of credit.

    Of course, I used my own materials and preached the gospel of no unnecessary credit. But I had a lot of kids that were able to figure interest charges (as well as how to balanace a checkbook) using stuff from Visa. And Visa’s name was nowhere to be found on any of the materials presented to students.

  20. Kounji says:

    @BaysideWrestling: I’m pretty sure that visa wants people to actually pay on all their interest rather than never be able to collect on its accounts. Plus it makes them look responsible

  21. ramit says:

    Personal-finance literacy, as we currently know it, is overrated.

    I just wrote about this on another comment thread so I hope it’s ok that re-post it here.

    I run one of the more popular blogs on personal finance [www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com.] No, it’s not a scam — I write about long-term investing, saving, banking, and budgeting for young people.

    I’m a huge fan of education, but I’ve heard the cry for more personal-finance education one too many times.

    From what I saw in high school and college, many schools did offer personal-finance classes. They were just poorly taught, boring, and patronizing.

    They were also poorly attended. For all the people who are saying “I wish my school offered personal-finance classes,” I bet some of them did — you just didn’t attend them. I’ve given talks at high schools and universities around the country and, unless you’re forced to attend, it’s unbelievably hard to get most people to care about money…

    …until they have some. That’s when people start worrying because we were never taught how to use it properly (and we never cared to learn).

    I got tired of hearing people complain about needing more education and decided to start a blog about it for my college friends. Hopefully, the organic upsurge of blogs will help young people figure out our money.

    The most fun of a long comment is ending by summarizing who you blame. So here’s who I blame for our poor personal-finance situation:

    * Our educational system for not equipping our parents or us to learn about how money works in an engaging, non-patronizing way
    * The media for filling the airwaves with noise like “The top 25 stocks you must buy!!!”
    * Us, for not taking the initiative to step up and learn this on our own. If we spend 5hrs/week watching reruns of The Hills (TMI?), isn’t it worth it to spend a few hours learning about money?

    Anyway, the best we can do is learn for ourselves and try to urge our friends to get started managing their money. As I talk about on my blog, you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to be rich — you just have to get started.