Residents across north central Florida are optimistic about the potential impacts of a new law requiring a personal finance class for graduation.
Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed the measure that will require high school students to complete a half credit course on personal finance before graduation.
The law seeks to rectify a lack of financial literacy in the state, as well as prepare students for the difficult economic challenges that may lay ahead. The requirement will take effect for ninth grade students entering the 2023-24 school year.
“I think I could have used a class like this in high school,” Jenn Pearce, a resident of Putnam County said. “When I got out of high school, there was no financial class that prepared me for the real world. I struggled. I got into a lot of credit card debt. I got audited once in my 20s because I messed something up in my taxes. It was a lot of trial and error.”
According to the law, the new personal finance class would teach financial skills such as balancing a checkbook, completing loan applications, computing interest rates, contesting incorrect billing statements and computing federal income tax. It also calls for instruction about understanding types of investments and types of bank accounts offered.
The law made Florida the 11th state to adopt a financial literacy requirement as a stand-alone course, according to CNBC.
Duane Hayslett, 41, said he’s tried to teach basic financial concepts to his two daughters, who are both enrolled at Buchholz High School in Gainesville.
“I went to cosign a lease for my daughter, and she didn’t know much about anything when it came to cosigning or anything like that,” Hayslett said.He said he believes a financial literacy course would be most helpful.
“It should be something that gives them the opportunity to get an idea of what to expect when they go out on their own,” Hayslett said.
Scott Chapman, 40, of Cedar Key, said he’s glad his daughters, who are 8 and 11, will benefit from the change.
“I think it’s absolutely fantastic,” Chapman said. “Because for the past number of years, honestly it seems to be, ‘go rack up $150,000 in student debt, then figure it out and pay it whenever — with interest. You’re not taught about that in school.”
Chapman has bought and sold businesses throughout his life and has credited his success to having a strong understanding of financial planning. He said he while is teaching his daughters about saving – for example, by allowing them to make their own money through dog walking – a structured course would help them learn the basics, like what a credit score is …….