If you don’t work in personal finance, understanding and navigating the financial world can be daunting, especially as technology like Artificial Intelligence continue to mold and remold the financial arena.
These changes have increased the need for consumers to be more financially literate than ever before, which is why in 2019, 40 states have set out to help consumers increase their understanding of personal finance via a wide variety of legislative actions.
Take a look at the map below to see what states have legislation in place.
Some of the more noteworthy pieces of legislation in the works are in Arizona, New Jersey, Kentucky and Nevada.
This year, Arizona enacted HB 2354, which authorizes school boards to approve a financial literacy course that would fulfill math course requirements in order to graduate from high school.
The Arizona Board of Education requires at least one-half course credit in economics, which includes personal finance, before a student can graduate.
Similarly, in Nevada, the Department of Education took control of the dialogue, establishing a financial literacy month, a State Financial Literacy Advisory Council and established similar provisions to require financial literacy classes be taught by Council-endorsed instructors.
Like Nevada’s Financial Literacy Advisory Council, Kentucky established the Financial Empowerment Commission to guide statewide conversations on financial literacy.
On the East Coast, New Jersey now requires financial literacy instruction to students enrolled in grades kindergarten through eighth grade.
To boost awareness of the importance of financial literacy, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas have all declared April as Financial Literacy Month.
The Role Of Advisors
Financial advisors and planners know better than anyone the importance of financial literacy and personal finance education – they deal with the successes and failures of the education (or lack thereof) every day.
By getting involved, advisors have been able to encourage and, in some cases, shape the dialogue around personal finance and financial literacy with their representatives and local government.
In Scottsdale, Ariz., Melissa Kemp, a financial planner and executive director of the Financial Planning Association of Greater Phoenix, said her chapter is “heavily involved” in boosting financial literacy in the state.
“Our state, with the leadership of our treasurer, Kimberly Yee, has created a statewide financial literacy task force. One of our members is Larry Mathis, is a planner who is serving on the task force,” Kemp said.
A former teacher, Margaret Doviak of Norman, Okla., has been advocating for financial literacy in her state for over a decade.
Back in 2008, Oklahoma was one of the first states to pass mandatory secondary education in the form of the Oklahoma Passport to Financial Literacy, thanks to her efforts and the efforts of other advocates.
Doviak said, “I lobbied our state legislators extensively to pass the legislation. We focused on the financial impact of our new casinos and how financial concerns stress the basic family unit.”
Doviak continued her work, joining the curriculum development task force, establishing the first standards for personal finance classes.
Cassie Miller is a contributing writer for AdvisorNews. She has spent nearly two years covering Finserv topics. She also has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design.