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Closing the financial literacy gap among children and young adults
Locally Owned 4/27/23

There is a learning gap among youths and young adults on financial matters related to managing money, applying for credit and avoiding debt.

 According to the Council for Economic Education’s 2022 "Survey of the States," only 23 states required a personal finance course for high school graduation, and only 25 required an economics course. Teaching our children the importance of paying with cash or debit cards instead of using credit cards is very important. 

Paying with cash will never grow old. The goal is to teach children and young adults to wait and save money for the things they want. This method of money discipline will follow them throughout their lives. Educating them about credit and personal finance gives youth the skills they will need to navigate the financial choices they make later with their peers and future significant others, avoiding the pitfalls of expensive purchases for which they have not saved or planned, costly trips they cannot afford and generally living above their means.

In addition, teaching children to budget should be a top priority for all parents. The earlier children and young adults learn to track their spending, the earlier they learn how to keep their finances under control. Establishing and maintaining a budget will teach children to build savings and will also put them in a position to learn how to invest money at an early age.

All young adults living with their parents need to have an emergency savings fund. Learning to pay for things themselves begins with managing the allowance they receive as a child, the money they make from their first job outside the home— paper route, babysitting — and any and all monetary gifts they receive. From the beginning, a percentage of any money a child receives should be set aside for long-term savings. When this becomes habit, it will simply be treated as a monthly expense, teaching the child that saving money is not optional but a requirement.

Youths and young adults also should begin planning for retirement. When young adults begin saving in their 20s, they earn interest not only on the principal they deposit but also on the interest it earns over time. Compound interest is powerful because it can supercharge your savings — and the younger you are, the more your savings can grow. If you’re unsure where to start, Sophia Harris-Johnson can help. A Certified Financial Education Instructor, Sophia established Exodus Credit Counseling, LLC, with a mission to “grow communities of people who are financially literate and have the necessary skills to maintain good credit and manage their personal finances.” Through her work, Sophia aims to help alleviate others’ fears and uncertainty when it comes to managing money, and she believes education is key to achieving financial stability. 

To learn more about Exodus Credit Counseling, LLC, and the importance of financial literacy, call (912) 471-8506, email, or visit

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