Home » GUEST EDITORIAL: Why does financial literacy matter in our schools?

GUEST EDITORIAL: Why does financial literacy matter in our schools?

by UNN Feed

Growing up in rural New Mexico, the eldest of three, I had no choice but to grow up fast. I helped care for my siblings and, in addition, worked my first jobs cleaning houses and babysitting. I gave the money I earned to my mama and quickly learned the value of a dollar, the meaning of family unity, and teamwork.

Like many New Mexico families, I grew up with humble beginnings and learned most of my life lessons regarding finances by trial and error, whether it was my own or someone I knew. Although I loved math and was in calculus in high school, I had no clue as to how to balance a checkbook, know what a savings account was, or what a stock or CD were.

New Mexico lawmakers have an opportunity during the current legislative session to benefit all the state’s students as well as the economy by adding financial literacy to the high school graduation requirements.

Momentum is growing nationally for making financial literacy a graduation requirement. Four years ago, six states required students to take a stand-alone personal finance or financial literacy course. Today, 25 states have added financial literacy to their high school graduation requirements. Now, 53% of students nationwide are guaranteed to receive this education. Sadly, New Mexico students are not among them.

WalletHub ranks New Mexico 49th for overall financial literacy. Requiring financial literacy for all students can strengthen our youth, some of whom will hopefully go on to serve as bank tellers, accountants, chief financial officers, board members and other financial roles in the public and private sectors that are so desperately needed in our communities. I always tell my godchildren, “No matter what career path you choose, finances will always need to be a part of it to be successful, and whatever your passion is, it is always important to understand a budget because if you know where the money is, you can use it for what you are passionate about.”

The New Mexico Legislative Finance…

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