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Report concludes Florida schools need a 'money course'

3:01 PM, Sep 27, 2013   |    comments
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Do you consider yourself a good money manager?

A new report indicates many of us are not.

Consider this: foreclosures are up 2,000 percent compared to 60 years ago.

Bankruptcies in America have jumped 650 percent in the past 30 years.

College students have racked up more than a trillion dollars in debt and about 10 percent are defaulting on those loans.

Young adults between the ages of 20 and 24 are filing for bankruptcy more than any other age group.

The Florida Council on Economic Education calls it a financial crisis.

It's calling on state lawmakers to require a semester-long financial literacy course in high schools.

"There's a virus among our young folks in Florida and the Florida Legislature has the ability to come up with an antidote to that virus and that virus is financial illiteracy. Our students are getting out of school without the ability to be successful financially. They do not have the tools. It's not being taught," said Geoff Simon of the Florida Council on Economic Education.

He says the rate of students defaulting on college loans has doubled in just the last five years.

"This is a crisis that will ruin students' credit and more than 50 percent of employers run credit checks before they hire. So it's going to make it harder and harder for young people to get good jobs that will help them pay off their debt."

Florida has implemented a half-semester course on financial literacy for high school students. But Mike Bell, the council's executive director, says lawmakers should develop a full semester "money course."

"The present system isn't working. It isn't preparing Floridians to enter adulthood and be productive members of the workforce, prepared consumers and wise investors. They lack the skills and personal behaviors and attributes necessary to succeed."

The report was released by the Florida Council on Economic Education, Florida Bankers Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Dave Heller

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