What I Wish I Learned in High School

The need for financial education.

In 2017, the National Financial Educators Council asked 8,633 adults what high school course they felt would have been most beneficial to their lives — money management was the most popular answer. In fact, young people between the ages of 18 and 24 said a class in personal finance would have benefited them more than any other class, period.

How does Rhode Island stack up?

Only one-third of Rhode Island’s high school seniors have access to personal finance instruction before graduation – just in time to make some of the most important financial decisions of their lives.

In his December 2018 report titled Fallen Behind, Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner wrote:

Now more than ever, a strong working knowledge of personal finance is essential for young people as they enter adulthood. For example, responsible and informed use of financial services can help young people finance higher education, homeownership, and retirement security. Possible financial pitfalls include predatory, high fee financial services that can trap individuals and families in cycles of debt.

So, what are the consequences of not teaching financial management to children? Well, besides living in the poorest state in New England, Rhode Islanders hold the second-highest amount of student loan debt nationwide and have the ninth highest number of seriously delinquent mortgages.

Announcing Financially Fit RI.

We believe that every Rhode Islander should have the opportunity to achieve financial security and that training will begin reversing these troubling statistics. So, United Way of Rhode Island partnered with R.I. General Treasurer Seth Magaziner to create a fund that helps local educators secure the resources they need to teach personal finance.

The Financially Fit RI Fund was announced at the State House on June 4, 2019. It follows legislation proposed by Treasurer Magaziner and introduced by Senator Sandra Cano, and Representative Joseph McNamara that requires R.I. public high schools teach personal finance, beginning in the 2019/2020 school year.

We need your help.

Contact your state representative in support of bill S-0112, requiring all public high schools teach personal finance.

Your pledge to the Financially Fit RI Fund is urgently needed. Help support educators as they prepare to teach students about personal finance — skills that not only brighten their future but Rhode Island’s as well.

Please, consider making a donation today.

By: Sandi Connors, Executive Vice President, Director of Strategic Marketing & Communications