September 24, 2022


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Mary Suiter: Pandemic-related income losses put premium on youth financial management skills | Guest columnists

I urge readers to encourage the young adults in their lives to keep building their human capital. As noted, education is essential to increasing one’s lifetime earnings and, ultimately, to building wealth.

Here we must be frank: Individual students, families and school districts are not on an even footing when it comes to opportunities for building human capital. Economic inclusion necessitates educational inclusion, and that begs a bigger conversation about dismantling barriers to learning. In the Eighth Federal Reserve District, our economic education team has worked to establish partnerships with schools in underserved communities and with Native American tribes, providing professional development and free classroom resources for teachers.

The Federal Reserve offers school administrators and educators advice on incorporating personal finance concepts. The state of Missouri requires personal finance coursework in high school, and updates to the standards were approved by the State Board of Education in 2017.

In Illinois, new K-12 social studies standards went into effect during the 2017-18 school year; for the first time, they included financial literacy. Newer research in the paper “The Effects of High School Personal Financial Education Policies on Financial Behavior” bears out that financial education requirements are associated with fewer defaults and higher credit scores among young adults, and that well-funded teacher preparation may be key to successfully implementing these programs.