financial

It’s Time to Make Financial Literacy a National Priority

By David W. Bianchi, Esq., Special to BHA News

In a recent survey of 15 year olds from around the world to determine what they know about financial matters, the United States placed behind Latvia, Estonia, Belgium, Poland, China, New Zealand, the Czech Republic and Australia. We can and must do better than that.

Studies show that students who receive a financial education before graduating from high school:

  • Have much healthier attitudes and knowledge about managing their money in college and thereafter.
  • Are less likely to incur debt and run up credit card bills.
  • Are more likely to have a checking account so they can monitor deposits and expenditures.
  • Are more likely to have a plan for saving money over time.

Student debt, currently estimated at $1.1 trillion, is one of the consequences of poor money management skills and is crushing America’s college students for years after graduation. Young adults can barely service their student loans and are not in a position to buy homes or otherwise stimulate the economy.  The resulting general slowdown in their savings and expenditures can have a lasting negative economic impact.

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David W. Bianchi with Blue Chip Kids book.

The best place to start a financial literacy education is in our schools. Imagine if we started teaching basic money management skills in 9th grade and continued through 12th grade. By the time students graduated from high school they would be far ahead of where they are today having taken courses in credit and debit cards; checking and savings accounts; simple and compound interest; stocks and bonds; dividends; mutual funds; mortgages; the consequences of too much debt; different ways to earn money; how to prepare a family budget; taxes; annuities and insurance products; electronic bill payment; financial statements; net worth; pensions and IRAs and on an on.

It is time to make financial literacy a top national priority.

David W. Bianchi is the author of “Blue Chip Kids, What Every Child and Parent Should Know About Money, Investing and the Stock Market” recently published by Wiley.  The book is available in bookstores and on Amazon.  More information can be obtained at www.bluechipkids.com