By Jessica Kelmon, Associate Editor
Like most of my generation, I learned a hard financial lesson courtesy of my first credit card. I was a junior in college strolling down Bruin walk, when a friendly on-campus marketer hailed me over. He gave me a ridiculously high-interest-rate card and a t-shirt. It was so quick, I still made it to class on time. Despite the lessons about saving and making smart choices that I learned at home, I wasn’t really prepared for that first credit card. Many students aren’t.
But in one state, that stops now. Virginia’s General Assembly has now said, enough! – and is mandating that teens pass economics and personal finance to graduate. I applaud the measure, and despite the education cutbacks everywhere, I think all states should follow suit. This is a form of real-life education that every person needs to exist in our incredibly indebted capitalist society. Need stats to back that up? According to creditcards.com, 50.2 million households carry credit card debt, and the average credit card debt per household with at least one credit card is $15,799. Scary.
One high school in Richmond, VA is taking the money-management education even further. John Marshall High School has partnered with a credit union. The branch is located on campus – and students are the tellers. The head teller? A junior who says his plan is to open his own business! By working in a branch, the hope is that all of these kids will learn about money, credit, and financing to better manage their own finances as adults. Let’s hope it works!