Last week, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver approved a measure aimed at teaching young students the importance of money management.  As signed into law, A-1414/S-1592 (P.L.2018, c.167) directs the State Board of Education to require school districts to incorporate financial literacy instruction into the curriculum for students enrolled in sixth through eighth grade.

“Financial responsibility is an important acquired and learned life skill, and with the increasing financial challenges millennials face, it is a skill that must be a necessary part of our educational curriculum,” said Acting Gov. Oliver in a statement. “Governor Murphy and I are happy to partner with the Legislature by signing this bill today to help New Jersey students learn how to effectively manage their personal finances and help set them up for success in life.”

The financial literacy instruction requirement will go into effect at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

The intent of the new law is to provide middle school students with the basic financial literacy necessary for sound financial decision-making. Instruction will include budgeting, savings, credit, debt, insurance, investment and other issues associated with personal financial responsibility as determined by the State Board. The instruction will also be designed to reflect the age and comprehension of the students enrolled in a particular grade level. To support the implementation of the new instruction requirement, the Commissioner of Education will provide school districts with sample instructional materials and resources.

The NJSBA supported the measure and worked closely with the bill’s primary sponsor, Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31), throughout the legislative process.

“One of the most important lessons a person can learn is how to manage their money,” McKnight said after the bill signing. “Many young people go into adulthood knowing little about finances, and end up making decisions that cost them in the long run. 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.”