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Educating America’s Youth on Personal Finance

Monday, June 3rd, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

As the son and husband of teachers, I am no longer shocked about stories I hear from my mother and wife about the daily struggles educators have in our country today. I know, on a daily basis, they are required to do a myriad of duties; many of them do not involve actual teaching. I can talk investments, economics, and theories all day, but put me in a room with 30 fifth graders and I am clueless. I know our teachers’ schedules and demands, and unless you have a family member in the profession, you have no idea of what they go through. The only thing that bothers me is how we require students to take math, English, history, and other classes to graduate high school, but we ignore essential subjects, such as personal finance. Understanding personal finance is crucial to this country’s success, and it will affect every student throughout his or her life. It’s time we made personal finance a part of our core curriculum.

How bad is the problem?
In the news, you constantly hear about how awful the savings rate of the average American is or how the youth of this country have serious financial problems. Here are some alarming statistics:
• America’s personal savings rate fell to 4% in May 2012.
• One-third of working Americans have less than $1,000 saved; 60% have less than $25,000.
• Two out of three college graduates owe $24,000 or more in student loans.
• Credit card debt for 25 to 34 year olds has increased 81% during the last two decades.3

Finding a solution
The problem in America is education. Personal finance is simply not being taught at home or in our school systems. In fact, according to the Council for Economic Education, only 13 states require a personal finance course be taken in order to graduate high school. Only 14 states require personal finance courses to be offered in the curriculum. Some of the states where classes are not required are Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Nebraska, Ohio, Vermont, and Washington, among others.

We can make a difference
Teaching young people financial basics is common sense as it is important for everyone in our country to have a good understanding of economics. We have to make better financial decisions both on personal and governmental levels, and we can begin making a difference by making our voices heard. Start by talking to your school board and congressional leaders about bringing personal finance courses to the classroom. At the very least, make sure you teach your children how to be financially responsible.

For more information, contact Jack Meece at (865) 200-8219 or email Jack.Meece@lpl.com.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC.

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East Tennessee's Mountain Views

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