Daniel Kong/ Sunny Hills HS 10th Grade
During the recent COVID-19 outbreak, a record-breaking number of 22 million Americans filed for unemployment. Additionally, economists expect as much as 20 million jobs to be further lost and the rise of the unemployment rate to be at a national high of 15 percent.
The current economic crisis portrays the need to inform Americans of how to better manage their finances, which is imperative to improving the economy and preparing for worse economic downturns ahead. Being financially literate means having the ability to effectively apply financial skills to achieve financial stability. The first step to achieving economic success as a nation is to provide financial literacy education to high school students. Firstly, the total U.S. Student Debt is approximately $1.4 trillion, mostly due to the lack of financial literacy among youths. If financial literacy class is a mandatory high school graduation requirement, students would learn to manage their money effectively and avoid large amounts of debt. Furthermore, the rate of bankruptcy among seniors rose to roughly 300 percent since the year 1991, showing the growing financial incompetence adults hold and the dire financial situation for future youths. Thus, creating a financially-literate American population is necessary to improve the economy. The financial crisis of 2008 is a great example of showing how the problem that is being dealt with is not an individual one but on a national level. Because of the lack of understanding of mortgage products, one of many areas of finance, among citizens, it caused the entire economy to collapse, leading it to be referred to as the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression.
Several high school students seem to agree with mandatory finance-related courses in order for graduation. “It is a fact that the economic state of the world is plummeting due to the [Coronavirus],” said Ryan Lee, a sophomore at Sunny Hills High School. “I think that financial education is commonly overlooked in general, and [especially] in this crisis, it should be definitely be taught.”
They also acknowledge the benefits it will have on high schoolers after graduation.
“I think that those financial literacy classes are great for any high school student in general, especially the graduating senior class that is now going to have to manage their money on their own at college,” said Eunice Kim, a sophomore at Cypress High School.
Many states have begun to realize the positive impact that financial literacy classes can offer to youths. Specifically, 21 states require high schoolers to take a personal finance course for graduation. Consequently, these states saw incredible growth: more students have chosen less expensive financing options for college, applied for aid, carried fewer credit card balances, and fewer students worked part-time jobs to pay for tuition.
Financial literacy is a fundamental skill that all Americans should possess. By providing financial literacy education to high school students, it will have a profound impact on the U.S. economy and on individual’s lives. These frequent financial crises are not an individual problem, but a national one.
<Daniel Kong/ Sunny Hills HS 10th Grade