Students are supposed to graduate from high school with a firm grasp of reading, writing, and arithmetic. A Senator from South Carolina, Luke Rankin, thinks that that education could do with some expansion when it comes to financial matters.
Rankin recently began working on a bill requiring high school students in the state to start taking personal financial classes. The classes could give graduating students a leg up on the financial burdens of adulthood.
What Would Students Learn in a Personal Finance Class?
The curriculum in schools around the country is constantly shifting and adjusting to the changing needs of society. Most schools don’t focus on teaching cursive anymore, for example. Adding a personal finance class to the curriculum in South Carolina can allow students to learn about:
- Filing Their Taxes
- Planning for Their Retirement
- Avoiding High Debt
- Budgeting Their Funds
- Selecting Insurance
- Deciding on Bank Accounts
Rankin’s bill would make the personal finance class a required part of the curriculum in South Carolina. This change would bring South Carolina in line with many other states that have adopted similar requirements. Currently, around 1/3 of the states in the U.S. require students to complete a personal finance course before graduation.
How Would Schools Assess a Student’s Understanding of Personal Finance?
The bill filed by Rankin would require student assessments. All students would have to complete a test to ensure they understood the financial concepts they were taught. Students who did not pass the test would not be able to graduate.
Rankin’s proposed bill is not slated to go into effect immediately. The 2020-2021 school year is the earliest that the bill could be implemented in schools around the state.
What Are the Long-Term Benefits of Personal Finance Education?
Understanding your personal finances can be of great benefit throughout your life, regardless of how you gain the information. High-schoolers can get the education they need in school, from their parents, or by taking the time to educate themselves privately.
Individuals who understand how to balance their checkbook and avoid excessive amounts of debt will face fewer financial hardships in their lives. Students may be able to increase their financial stability by learning how to make their money work for them by:
- Choosing the Right Savings Accounts
- Developing an Understanding of Stocks and Bonds
- Learning About the Real-Estate Market
A firm understanding of the financial environment in the U.S. can also allow individuals to feel confident if they do need to handle unexpected debt. Most financial educators recommend keeping a nest egg set aside to cover surprise debts, but that is not always possible.
Understanding personal finance options can help anyone feel confident when they need to get money quickly. Students could be taught how to take out a personal loan, or their options in relation to payday loans or title loans on their vehicles.
Personal Finance Classes Can Educate Students in South Carolina
As of 2015, 17 states required high schools to offer personal finance classes. That number hasn’t grown much in the last several years, but Luke Rankin is aiming to change that in South Carolina. High school students in the state may soon have to buckle down for personal finance classes, learning more about how to save and invest their money.