Financial literacy programs in schools help educate money-smart kids

Posted at 9:37 AM, Feb 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-03 21:53:47-05

Money - its something that makes day-to-day life easier for most of us - from taking care of basic responsibilities -  to enjoying life.

But, when it comes to understanding the basics - from budgeting and saving, to debt and credit, do kids known enough about financial literacy to succeed and support themselves as adults?

A study from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found 40% of adults graded themselves a C,D, or F when it came to their own personal finance. 78% of them admitted they wish they knew more starting from a younger age.

So, how do we reverse this trend?

Research shows one strategy is teaching young people how to make money-smart decisions in school and carry those lessons home with them.

Right now, students in 43 states, including New York State, participate in some form of financial literacy program as part of or alongside their core curriculum.

In Western New York, schools across several districts, including Hutch Tech in Buffalo, teach students the importance and value of economics and career & financial management before graduation.

Norman Duttweiler, a teacher at Hutch Tech, said using third party resources gives his 9th to 12th graders real-life exposure to what it feels like to budget, balance a check book, even manage their own money.

"To have the opportunity to be exposed at school, what it means to make money, what it means to budget, to have a job, how to handle spending your money, those are all key factors," Duttweiler said.

By senior year, students at Hutch Tech are more prepared for financial sustainability than they were before they walked through the doors.

"I came in knowing little, now I know, I wouldn't say all, but I know a lot that's going to help me throughout the future of my life," one senior said.

But experts say, the continuation of these conversations should happen at home as well to help inspire young people to own their own finances and perhaps even businesses one day.

Some other high schools in the area with similar programs include: Barker, Clarence, Depew, Hamburg, Lakeshore, Lancaster, Lakeshore, Lewiston-Porter, North Tonawanda, Orchard Park and West Seneca East High School.