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New Report Ranks the Most and Least Financially Literate States

April is National Financial Literacy Month, and to mark the occasion, WalletHub, a personal finance website, released a report examining financial-education programs and consumer spending habits in the United States, including the District of Columbia. Even though some states are "taking the necessary measures to foster a financially prosperous future," the report's findings suggest that Americans are making the same uninformed and irresponsible consumer choices that they were before the Great Recession, underscoring the need for the country as a whole to better integrate financial literacy into school curricula. 

Source: WalletHub

WalletHub used 15 different metrics, "rang[ing] from high-school financial literacy grade to share of adults with rainy-day funds," to arrive at its findings. According to WalletHub, the five most financially literate cities include:

1.

New Hampshire

2.

Minnesota

3.

North Dakota

4.

Maine

5.

Virginia

While the five least financially cities include:

47.

Mississippi

48.

Kentucky

49.

Rhode Island

50.

District of Columbia

51.

Louisiana

It is evident that public school policymakers in these lower ranking states may want to ensure that financial literacy is a key part of the K-12 curriculum. Experts say that children need to be taught the importance of financial literacy and money management. They insist that both educators and parents can also make strides to properly educate children on money management. 

"Financial literacy is an essential skill for today's youth and should be integrated into the K-12 and college curriculum," says Marla A. Sole, an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Guttman Community College in New York. "Before graduating from high school, teens who plan to go to college need to be able to evaluate the terms of student loans and accurately estimate their future earnings. If entering the job market, since employers are increasingly shifting financial responsibility to individuals, young adults need to understand their retirement plans."

Sole also stated that learning financial literacy earlier will help students make smarter decisions and avoid "predatory lending practices."

As for how financial literacy could be taught in schools, Sole champions an interdisciplinary approach. She argues that financial terms and concepts could be taught in an economics course, mathematics would help students calculate interest on loans and compare investment options, and psychology courses can explore how financial decisions are impacted by emotions.

For other experts' opinions about effective ways of teaching financial literacy in K-12 schools, read the WalletHub report here.

 

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