Today, Florida’s governor signed a new law that will require students to take a financial literacy course before they graduate.

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In 2018, only about 3 in 10 Floridians could correctly answer four out five simple questions about money. Today, Florida lawmakers took a big step to bolstering the state’s financial literacy.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a new requirement for high school students. Starting in 2023, incoming freshmen will need to pass a half-credit course in basic money management if they want to graduate.

“Financial literacy is an important life skill for a student to have,” DeSantis said. “This will provide a foundation for students to learn about the basics of money management, understanding debt, understanding how to balance a checkbook, understanding the fundamentals of investing.”

Florida isn’t the first state to pass such a law, but it is the largest. As of today, at least 10 other states now require something similar, according to the nonprofit Next Gen Personal Finance. The others include:

  • Alabama
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • Iowa
  • Ohio
  • Nebraska

A big step that can save Florida’s youth big money

Most students graduate without basic money skills. In 2021, the average American lost almost $1,400 because they lack financial literacy. That divides up to about $115 lost every month.

Debt.com has routinely reported on the need for financial literacy courses in public schools. Three in four parents talk to their children about basic lessons like saving money and budgeting. But they miss the boat on more complicated topics like investing and saving for retirement.

Only 1 in 3 parents effectively convey those lessons to their kids. Probably because they never learned themselves.

“Talking to teens about money should be as routine as brushing your teeth or grocery shopping,” said Robyn Gilson, U.S. Bank Coach for Student Financial Education. “They need to be confident about credit and planning for the future, otherwise the impact is costly.”

While most parents think that they should be teaching their young children about money, most don’t start until their kids are about 15 years old. And when parents do have conversations about money, they often keep it too surface-level or give inaccurate advice.

But Florida’s governor feels the incoming class of 2023 and forward will be more prepared than their predecessors to tackle life’s financial obstacles.

“This will provide a foundation for students to learn about the basics of money management, understanding debt, understanding how to balance a checkbook, understanding the fundamentals of investing,” DeSantis said. “I think this is going to be something that is really good. We think it will improve a student’s capability for financial management when they enter the real world.”

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About the Author

Gillian Manning

Gillian Manning

Gillian Manning graduated from Florida Atlantic University in 2021 with her bachelor’s degree in journalism. At FAU she served as the editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper, the University Press. During her time there, the paper saw an increase in content production, readership, and engagement. Before she even graduated, Gillian was published in various outlets such as South Florida Gay News and the Boca Raton Tribune.

Published by Debt.com, LLC