Help prepare young Texans for financial independence

Help prepare young Texans for financial independence

Financial literacy can help ease student loan debt I had to teach myself to become financially literate. If personal finance is taught in school, young people will be motivated to be wiser about money management. Before becoming an educator, I had a career in the financial services industry as a retirement consultant and later as a retail financial advisor. That’s when I saw a huge gap in the personal financial literacy of the average consumer. Many of my customers did not understand the basic concepts of account balancing, credit, or investing. This lack of knowledge often left them vulnerable to costly mistakes and caused them to miss out on profitable opportunities.

Growing up in a working-class household, the only conversations I heard about money were that there was not enough of it. I wanted to learn how to grow wealth and invest as a stock broker one day. Opinion:Joe Biden shouldn’t buy into the college loan pity party

Like most Texans, I could not find courses to learn about personal finance. Texas ranks 39th in guaranteeing students access to a stand-alone personal finance course, with just 2.2 percent of our high school students guaranteed such a course before graduation. The bill next goes before the full House for a second reading.

Some say personal finance is already embedded in economics courses, but I have seen firsthand that this is insufficient. Only a full-semester, stand-alone course can equip students with the knowledge and skills to manage their finances in this complex world. Through my work with Next Gen Personal Finance, I have advocated for schools to adopt such courses in my district and around the state. Being financially literate is one of the most effective ways of fighting the cycle of generational poverty.   More:The student debt crisis is crushing Black Americans. Here’s how loan forgiveness could help

For three years at Booker T. Washington High School, I taught personal finance classes, and now I coach and develop other teachers in the Houston Independent School District. Our efforts are not nearly common enough in Houston or Texas. College student debt has reached $1.7 trillion. Many students and their parents don’t understand student loans. Runaway student debt is life altering. Many must forego buying homes, saving for retirement and pursuing other wealth-building strategies.

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