Americans are in debt to the tune of $17 trillion. The average American has nearly $60-thousand worth of debt, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Household Debt and Credit Report.
To combat the country’s debt crisis, more and more states are requiring financial literacy classes before graduating high school. Delta Community Credit Union is helping with that effort in metro Atlanta schools.
Experts at Delta Community Credit Union recently visited Peeples Elementary School in Fayetteville. Nearly 500 students in third, fourth, and fifth grades took part in mini-workshops led by financial experts at Delta Community.
“For our 3rd and 4th graders, they’re learning everything from earning money to saving money, and then also to spend money,” said Reina Jones, Delta Community Credit Union. “For older students, the fifth graders are simulating personas. I think that’s really going to stick with them because they’re learning about a career, about a salary, and then they must figure out things like car loans and rent.”
Financial literacy is a critical life skill. Data show that only 24 percent of millennials demonstrate basic financial literacy. Experts worry that if not taught in schools like Peeples, young people, and even adults will end up turning to social media for advice.
“Think about the debt that people have right now. If we were to have these conversations early on, then we can really inspire kids early to think about what their wants versus their needs are,” said Jones.
Georgia began mandating personal finance education for its students in 2022. It’s currently one of about 30 states to have the requirement.
Teachers say educating students at a young age will help the next generation of borrowers better understand how to build personal wealth.
“I know that one day they’re going to be in charge of our government. They’re going to be running our businesses, and because of that, they need to be thinking like the little entrepreneurs and future leaders that they are,” said Angela Brown, fourth teacher at Peeples Elementary.
Delta Community Credit Union visits dozens of schools throughout the year to educate students in financial literacy.