California Considers Adding Personal Finance Course as High School Requirement

Expert education officials typically oversee school curricula, but this autumn, California voters may play a key role in shaping it. In the upcoming election, Californians will decide on the addition of a mandatory one-semester course in personal finance for high school students.

The California Secretary of State is on the brink of certifying the California Personal Finance Act for the November ballot. The act proposes integrating financial literacy as a high school graduation requisite, starting with the class of 2030.

The syllabus would encompass topics such as college expenses, online banking, taxes, budget management, credit management, retirement planning, loans, stock market fundamentals, and more. Advocates stress the importance of this move, citing the evolving economy and the pivotal decisions students face regarding higher education, professions, and their future.

Tim Ranzetta, a co-founder of a nonprofit organization focused on personal finance education, and a key supporter of the initiative, emphasized the necessity for teaching financial literacy. Ranzetta highlighted the significant gap between students’ existing knowledge and the essential know-how required for financial management.

Public opinion aligns with Ranzetta’s perspective. A 2022 survey revealed that nearly 90% of adults nationwide endorse a financial literacy mandate in high schools. A substantial majority also expressed regret for not having had such a curriculum during their own schooling.

Financial difficulties persist for many individuals. In California, the average credit card debt amounts to $8,366, ranking as the sixth-highest nationwide. Furthermore, approximately 1 in 6 borrowers across the country find themselves defaulting on student loans.

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