Financial expert tackles state’s Economic and Financial Literacy Act

North Carolina

Southeast / North Carolina 15 Views

If approved, Senate Bill 134 would require high school graduates to pass personal finance course

The North Carolina General Assembly is considering a bill that would make it a requirement for high school students to a pass financial literacy course before they graduate.

Senate Bill 134, or the Economics and Financial Literacy Act, would require high school students to complete an economics and personal finance course before they are eligible to graduate. If adopted as currently written, the course would include instruction in several focus areas including: true cost of credit, choosing and managing a credit card, borrowing money for a large purchase (automobile, etc.), home mortgages, credit scoring and credit reports, and planning and paying for post secondary education.

The bill also includes professional development courses for instructors who will be teaching the course. The State Board of Education will review the high school standard course of study to determine the grade levels the new course may complete.

While the Financial Literacy Act is a step in the right direction, during a recent interview with The Chronicle, Gregg Murset, a certified financial planner and founder of BusyKid.com, a chores app for kids that teaches financial literacy and responsibility, said kids need to learn the basic principles of finance before they reach high school.

A father of six, Murset, who is a graduate of Arizona State with a degree in finance, said BusyKid came to be when he was looking for ways to teach his kids financial responsibility while keeping up with their chores and weekly allowance at the same time. He said he faced an issue that every parent goes through at some point. He said his plan was to make the process easier for everyone involved and today, BusyKid has more than 25,000 subscribers.

Murset said, “The way I describe BusyKid is simple. It’s your kid’s first job with direct deposit.”

BusyKid allows children to receive their allowance from their parents’ bank account directly to their BusyKid account. By dividing the money into three different categories – saving, sharing, and spending – students learn responsibility, accountability, and smart money decisions.

“… If you think about it, that’s exactly what we do as adults. We go to work, we earn some money, we put some money in a savings account or 401K. We give some to charity or church and we spend the rest. So we’re reinforcing Finance 101 with kids in a very hands-on way,” Murset said.

Murset said he believes state lawmakers are missing the point with the high school financial literacy course. He said students should begin learning financial responsibility as early as elementary school. Murset said in a point in time where money is usually transferred with the touch of a button or swipe of a card, it’s hard to teach children the fundamentals because they don’t physically see the money.

“I think they’re missing it because this really needs to happen in elementary and middle schools so kids can start learning the basic fundamentals earlier. I think one of the things that’s hard these days is that parents are trying to teach their kids about something they don’t see,” continued Murset. “I call it invisible money because you don’t hand your kids a bunch of coins and cash anymore. We swipe our card or tap our phones, so parents have a hard thing to teach kids about invisible money.

“… And let’s be honest, teaching it in class and taking a test at school is one thing, but the actual practical application is really where it’s at. That’s what BusyKids is, it’s that practical tool that gives parents the opportunity to help their kid learn by doing because I think that’s the best way to learn by doing stuff. ”

Currently only 17 states require high school students to take a course in personal finance. In the 2017 Financial Report Card from Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy, based on their efforts to produce financially literate students, only five states received an “A” for their efforts. Those state were; Alabama, Virginia, Tennessee, Utah and Missouri. 

If approved, the Financial Literacy Act would cost taxpayers about $2 million. That money will be used for professional development for teachers. If the bill passes, the course will be added to the curriculum during the 2020-2021 school year.

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