Students continue to struggle with financial literacy
When we think of the basics of education, we think about math, reading, writing and technology.
Often missing from the curriculum in high school and college is how to manage your finances.
21 News spoke with a director from the Ohio Department of Commerce and local students on this issue and why financial literacy skills are so important yet not taught enough.
From 401Ks, student loans to managing debt and filing your taxes, there's many financial topics we're all expected to know as adults but aren't required to be taught.
"We know very little about what we're getting into then reality starts to hit and I have loans, rent and bills," said Maddy Haberberger, Kent State graduate. "Most of us are going to college and will have to take out loans and some of us don't know anything about what those loans mean and how they're going to affect our future."
"They go from being in mom and dad's home under their roof, under their guidance and they're kind of pushed into this real world," said Viktoria Jurkovic, Consumer Affairs Manager at the Ohio Department of Commerce.
Haberberger and soon-to-be Kent State graduate Chris Abreu said it wasn't required for them to learn basic financial skills in high school which is catching up on them.
"You're really thrown out of the nest because you don't really know much," Abreu said.
"In terms of 401k and student loans, I still feel very under-prepared for that," Abreu said. "Going into college, you have to learn everything yourself and it's probably going to feel the same when you leave college."
Abreu told 21 News any financial tool he's learned, he has taught himself. "That comes from having to now pay for things like rent and utilities on time," Abreu said.
To promote financial literacy, Ohio's Department of Consumer affairs offers outreach efforts for our state's youth, parents and teachers.
"To provide necessary financial literacy and education tips," Jurkovic explained. "Our role is to create outreach efforts for varying ages throughout the stage to provide necessary financial literacy, information education tips from your elderly, to your preschoolers. We have a lot of resources on our website that talks about elementary level ideas that you can do with your kids to teach them basic financial literacy concepts.
Ohio's Department of Consumer also has a new program involving basic financial literacy posters that are being dispersed into Central Ohio area middle schools. The department's program also teaches lessons on credit card and how to properly use them and pay on them.
"I still don't even have a credit card but some of my friends have them," Haberberger added. "Some of them don't even know how they work."
Haberberger and Abreu agreed they'd be more confident with their finances if it was a requirement to learn those skills in school.
"I know for a fact I wouldn't know as a teenager that I need to take any financial literacy courses or need to have any understanding of what finances look like," Haberberger added.
These statewide programs are now an effort to help with financial knowledge, which can even benefit local communities and the states economy.
"Ohio citizen's if they're not performing correctly persay if they're not provided the best financial future, then that could specifically have negative impact on the state, local community's," Jurkovic said.
Click here to listen to the 21 News Podcast with WFMJ Managing Editor, Justin Mitchell and the full interview with Jurkovic.
Visit the Ohio Department of Commerce's website at find the tab on the home page that specifically talks about financial health and consumer education and resources.