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Guest Column from State Representative Christina Hagan: Financial Literacy Has Potential to Bolster Ohio's Economy

April 19, 2017
Republican Newsroom

It’s something we don’t often think about, but something that affects the ins and outs of our everyday lives: managing money. From paying bills on time to learning how to save for vacation, college, and even retirement, financial literacy is a skill we all should be fluent in. As a young adult who worked her way through college and continued to work an additional job during my first terms as your state representative, learning how to manage and invest my earnings has been an important part of building my family and ensuring our stability in the future.

These personal experiences have been the primary impetus behind House Bill 108, legislation I recently introduced concerning financial literacy. The bill would require a half-unit of instruction in economics and financial literacy to be included as part of the curriculum in Ohio high schools. Such a course would include an array of lessons on personal finance, from learning about credit and debt to developing skills on responsible money management. The course would be included in the social studies curriculum or offered as an elective course.

It seems remarkable to me that we don’t work harder to instill this knowledge in our children, before they apply for a credit card without knowing how credit really works. With a national debt that continues to trend upward, it is more important than ever to provide young adults with the abilities to spend and invest their money wisely. House Bill 108 will give students the tools they need to more wisely navigate future financial decisions.

In addition to our country’s unsustainable national debt, Ohio has a growing student loan debt problem. In order to better inform potential college applicants and their parents, House Bill 108 also creates an informed student document for each public institution of higher education, outlining information on attendance costs, loan repayment rates, and admission data. These details are crucial as students research options for college and ultimately make one of the biggest investments of their lives.

House Bill 108 is common-sense and responsible legislation that would help to better prepare our next generations for their future. By teaching money management skills to our high schoolers, Ohio’s prospective workforce, families, and government leaders will have the knowledge to better contribute to our state’s economy and ensure their own personal responsibility. Such principles can only aid in the overall health of Ohio’s economic environment.