When the pandemic hit many families were unprepared for what it would mean for their financial health. Lawmakers are looking to make sure future generations don’t have to grapple with the pocketbook problems their parents may have had to face.
“iI we had spent the last 10, 15 or 20 years teaching our kids these principles, perhaps it wouldn’t be that 40% of Americans can’t absorb a $400 emergency expense,” Bruce Adams, president and CEO of the Credit Union League of Connecticut, said.
Adams said teaching the principles of how to save, spend, borrow and protect your money should start early.
“Financial literacy is not one module, it’s not one hour. Financial literacy is something people practice frankly their whole lives,” Adams said.
He said the state should teach middle school kids about the concept of interest and saving your money or the cost of borrowing money.
Rep. Bobby Sanchez, who co-chairs the Education Committee, said they are looking to see if they can pass legislation this year, but are wary of any mandates.
“You hate to do a mandate and then you’re going to have the schools districts that are going to say how do we cover the books, how do we cover the digital data we have to get in, how do we cover the training for the teachers -- all that costs money,” Sanchez said.
But it’s an important life skill.
“It’s so important that our kids not only get regular literacy, reading, writing, but financial literacy as well. How to open a bank account how to keep a bank account, a savings account going,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said he believes they should start the curriculum in preschool.
“If we can teach kids how to actually save some money in case there's an emergency, as you can see this was a huge emergency, this way they have something to fall back on,” Sanchez said.
Rep. Jason Doucette of Manchester co-chairs the Banking Committee and believes kids should start financial literacy at the very least around middle school.
“I’m a parent myself, I have an 12 and 14 year old, and I think that’s the perfect time to start that middle school age when they certainly have an appreciation, they start wanting things,” Doucette said.
Lawmakers felt the curriculum should be implemented statewide.
“There’s a lot of suffering out there especially in lower income communities. So I think financial literacy is especially important in the underserved and the underbanked communities,” Doucette said.