Last Thursday, acting New Jersey governor Sheila Oliver signed a new law requiring financial literacy education for New Jersey’s middle school students. New Jersey assembly woman Angela V. McKnignt and personal finance expert Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche were both key in getting the legislation passed.
According to NJ.com, the new law, (A1414) says “the lessons should provide students with knowledge to make ‘sound financial decision-making,’ with content on budgeting, savings, credit, debt, insurance, investment, and more.”
“Many young people go into adulthood knowing little about finances and end up making decisions that cost them in the long run,” Assemblywoman McKnight said to NJSpotlight.com.
“Teaching our kids early about the importance of managing their money and making sound financial decisions can prevent them from making costly mistakes and set them on the right financial path.”
On her Instagram, Aliche outlined how she came to work with Assemblywoman McKnight on the bill.
“3 years ago, HISTORY was set in motion… Assemblywoman Angela V. McKnight @aswmcknight reached out to me and asked for my help with a financial literacy bill. That meeting took place at a Starucks in Dec. 2015, and yesterday after years of hard work, committee meetings, follow-ups, social media pushes, and an initial veto by our former Governor, WE HAVE A LAW! Angela is a POWERHOUSE and worked to make sure this day happened despite the many setbacks.The law takes effect during the next school year, Sept. 2019. Woot woot!”
Aliche, who most recently appeared as a guest on the BLACK ENTERPRISE personal finance podcast “Your Money Your Life,” says similar legislation is being considered in Texas and Maryland.
Currently, few states—only 17—require high school students to take a course in personal finance, yet the Council of Economic Education survey states that the country’s low level of financial knowledge exacerbated the effects of the Great Recession.
Black financial literacy is critical for African American economic well-being. For instance, nearly half (49%) of all black borrowers default on their student loans within 12 years of entering college.
-Robin White Goode contributed to this report.