Financial Literacy: Should Classes Be Mandatory?

December 28, 2018 by Lily Wright

Whether your high school days were a few years or a few decades ago, you can probably answer the following question quickly: Were you taught financial literacy in class?  It’s probably no surprise that most Americans respond “no” to this important question.  While you may remember bits of information from classes like Psychics and Trigonometry, it’s unlikely you remember any single teacher or class helping to teach you about managing your finances.  Because of this, Americans struggle daily to understand how to properly manage their money, and the lack of understanding has become more apparent as generations shift and evolve.

According to Money, the average millennial household owes $14,800 in student loans, and the struggle to manage this debt has gotten worse, as America now faces over 13 trillion dollars of debt. Because many young Americans have to about establishing credit, budgeting, and saving AFTER they have failed to understand it, several leading experts feel it would be beneficial to have mandatory financial literacy classes starting as early as middle school and high school.  According to a U.S. News report published in April 2018, only only seven states have required standardized testing on personal finance since 2016.

Would mandatory financial literacy classes make a difference?

The counterargument is that high school students tend to be apathetic about subjects they don’t find immediately interesting or beneficial, and it’s a large possibility that financial education courses may fall on deaf ears. Of course there is the possibility that like many mundane subjects, students may learn what is necessary for the tests provided, but the real-life application may be lost by the time these students actually need to use this knowledge. Regardless, a basic understanding of even how to use a credit card and how to make payments, would be helpful for young people who end up saddled with debt as soon as they graduate.


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