April is Financial Literacy Month
April is Financial Literacy Month!
Again this year, I am offering all Jefferson County high school seniors a graduation gift, a copy of the “The Missing Semester,” an award-winning book by Matt Kabala and Gene Natali Jr. that explains basic personal finance to allow people to make smart financial decisions and obtain financial freedom.
Personal finance is so much more than balancing a checkbook. In addition to covering checking and saving accounts, personal finance classes offer practical information about budgeting, how to manage different types of credit, mortgages, investing, saving for retirement, insurance, taxes and even making career decisions.
I am a strong advocate for making personal finance a requirement to earn a high school diploma. Both this year and last year, I asked our state’s legislators to pass a bill requiring students to successfully complete at least a half credit of personal finance for graduation. That bill was not enacted, but lawmakers are taking notice of the issue and I am hopeful the legislation will be adopted.
Currently, students are allotted two weeks in their civics classes to learn about these crucial financial life skills. Our schools offer 28 credits over a four-year high school career, but only 22 credits are required for graduation. That leaves six free elective credits. Many students’ academic schedules are filled with electives, ranging from study hall to weightlifting. But personal finance, which has the potential to empower young people to transform their lives for the better and ought to be required, is not even offered as an elective, in most cases.
That’s a wasted opportunity which needs to change in West Virginia!
I promise to keep advocating, both at the state and local levels for this important class for our children. Will you promise to share this opportunity for a free book with your senior?
For a free copy of the book (while supplies last), email Donna at firstname.lastname@example.org and congratulations to the 2021 graduates!
Donna Joy, of Shepherdstown