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My heart is smiling as I write this. The Connecticut House passed SB 1165 with a vote of 138 to 12. It passed the Senate earlier this month with a vote of 35-1. The next step is for it to make it to the Governor’s desk.
You may be asking, what is in SB 1165? SB 1165 is a bill that requires all Connecticut high school students to complete a financial literacy course in order to earn a diploma. This will start with students entering this fall and graduating in 2027.
This brings me back to being an expert panelist for one of Experian’s weekly Twitter #creditchat, about barriers to accessing financial information in underserved areas. Today, I thought it was fitting to resurrect the topic. During the chat the experts that participated were given questions for which we provided answers and below I dusted off mine and summarized for you.
There are many barriers when it comes to delivering financial education in underserved communities. The very first thing is that the information is simply not being consistently taught. Not in the schools, not from the parents, grandparents, etc…
Second, it is not available in schools and some adults don’t have it either. They may not have received the information they need and so are unable to pass it down. As a result, these communities tend to pay more for financial services. They pay more interest when acquiring things on credit due to low credit scores.
Many don’t have money saved and also don’t realize the benefits of compound interest, which is a silent hero.
Nowadays there is so much financial information available even for those without internet access. It is highly encouraged that one does their research to ensure the information they are relying on is accurate. Many offer completely free resources to help you along with your financial journey like the ones I offer here.
I facilitate tons of workshops for college students who say, “I wish I had this information before I got my first credit card” and “Can’t I just leave my money in CashApp” or ” I am going to buy a BMW as I have enough for the payment” but they haven’t considered insurance, gas, maintenance, and taxes.
That is why I am so glad Connecticut is now the 21st state, pending the governor’s signing, to successfully pass a bill through both the Senate and House to require personal finance and financial management to be a required course for high school students prior to graduation. Financial education is absolutely necessary for all students. This is how they can learn. And the fundamentals of personal finance should be reiterated year after year as they will need it for the rest of their lives.
During the #creditchat another financial educator, Jorell Bland, mentioned, “Individuals with little or no relationship with a bank can struggle to manage their funds effectively, and to save, prepare, or borrow for emergencies”.
Before the last year of high school ends, or shortly thereafter, many high school students are signing their names to one of the most expensive decisions of their lives — college loans — without enough knowledge of the long-term effects. As they move toward college graduation, these financial education classes will also assist them with delayed gratification. They will learn to budget and only spend what they can afford to. They will also know to save and take care of their needs and then wants, in that exact order! And much, much more.
Do you want to get better at budgeting? Much is a budgeting app that can help you to manage your money with purpose! It can help you to break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck and focus on meeting your financial goals. It’s even great for those just getting started out with budgeting for the first time! Check out Much here.
Building generational wealth sounds great and can be a reality for many more. However, in order to build generational wealth, you have to understand foundational money management and then expand from there. I heard Charles Barkley say about one of the basketball teams during the 2023 Eastern Finals, you have to apply the fundamentals of the game to be successful.
I believe he also said, or let me paraphrase, talent is great and is helpful, but the fundamentals will help you sustain. I thought that was profound and to me, it applies to financial management. No matter how much money you make or how many different streams of income you have, you still have to apply the financial fundamentals, which are budgeting, saving in the best locations, using credit responsibly, needs vs wants, and gross pay vs net pay to name a few.
If you’re already in debt, it can be hard to get out. No fear, however! It is possible to get your finances back to where you want them to be. Check out Spendebt. Spendebt gives you the option to put the extra change you spend towards your debt every single time you shop. It’s a creative and easy way towards working down your debt. Check it out here!
All of this contributes to achieving financial security. It is hard to achieve what you are not educated on or have knowledge of. The more you know, the better chance you have! Bad financial health can contribute to poor physical health as it can cause stress.
Being financially literate, coupled with managing money has a direct correlation to a reduction in stress and anxiety. This supports positive health and a happier life overall. It also clears your mind and allows you to be present and have healthier relationships with yourself, your spouse, children, family, and friends.
During that same #creditchat, Rahkim Sabree, added, “Decreased stress, anxiety, depression, healthier choices around food and exercise, health screenings, and a better quality of life can all come from a foundation of financial literacy.”
All in all, being financially literate has personal benefits and extremely positive impacts for generations to come. Proper financial education supports good financial behaviors. More about the bill that CT just passed, check it out here.