Why is Financial Literacy Important and How Does Florida Senate Bill 1054 Address it?

Why financial literacy matters – Money, by definition, is something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value, or a means of payment. It seems so simple, you work for money, you pay for things with money. On the face of it, money seems so simple, but managing it, growing it, etc., is a skill that appears to be on the decline. Ever heard the phrase, “money doesn’t grow on trees?” Well, it doesn’t, but it would appear that many people think it does and it has precipitated a debt crisis that has been growing for decades. Financial literacy is the understanding of how money is made, spent, and saved. It is also the ability to use these skills to use financial resources to make decisions to invest, save etc., These skills are critical to ensure the financial well-being and stability of future generations.

How Senate Bill 1054 came to be – Bankruptcy judges and business lawyers in Florida have been sounding the alarm about the need for financial literacy in Florida schools since the early 2000’s. The most they’ve been able to achieve, until now, is an elective financial literacy course in high school. Senator Dorothy Hukill, who carried the bill originally, was a former educator who believed strongly in providing students with these vital skills for successful employment and economic independence. While she didn’t live to see the bill signed into law, it is named after her the “Dorothy L. Hukill Financial Literacy Act.”

The pandemic and rising inflation have added further strain to family and personal finances. Student debt burdens and uncertain retirement income have created an even stronger need for financial literacy for high schoolers. Students are graduating, taking on careers, or heading to college. They will be bombarded by credit card companies enticing them with freebies to get them enrolled without fully understanding the responsibilities that come with having a credit card. They’re taking on student loans, buying their first cars and so many other things that require financial decisions. They need to be prepared to handle these and so many other financial obligations.

How Does Senate Bill 1054 Address Financial Literacy – This bill ensures all students, entering high school in the 2023-24 school year, regardless of income or race, will learn key concepts of financial literacy. As part of the Social Studies standards, students will receive one-half credit for successfully passing the course. The curriculum will include instruction in the following areas:

  1. Types of bank accounts offered – this encompasses assessing the quality of the bank’s services, opening and managing the account.
  2. Balancing a checkbook 
  3. Basic principles of money management – this includes spending, retail/credit cards (including understanding retail/credit card debt), credit scores, and managing debt. 
  4. Completing a loan application
  5. Receiving an inheritance and related implications
  6. Basic principles of personal insurance policies
  7. Computing federal income tax
  8. Local tax assessments
  9. Computing interest rates
  10. Simple contracts
  11. Contesting an incorrect billing statement
  12. Types of savings and investments
  13. State and federal laws concerning finance

Senate Bill 1054, ensures all students in Florida have the tools to make educated financial decisions that will empower them to thrive and contribute to the economy no matter their path. 

Teia Hoover Baker is an educator, published author, and entrepreneur. She is an innovative, devoted educator whose career has been dedicated to coordinating programs that support struggling learners. Her passion is meeting students where they are and guiding them to excel. Her main focus is always what is best for children. Teia holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s of Education. In her spare time, she enjoys being Lovie to her growing grandchildren.

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