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Weekly Address — December 12, 2019

From the historic hallways of the most beautiful state Capitol in our great nation, this is Senator Keith Ingram.

This year, high school seniors are learning practical lessons in managing money, thanks to legislation passed in 2017 that requires schools to teach financial literacy.

Students in last year’s freshmen class were the first in Arkansas that will have to complete financial literacy courses as a requirement for graduation.

To be honest, a lot of adults would benefit from the classes. The material includes a section on how to calculate your income. That may seem pretty basic, until you consider the effect of deducting taxes, health insurance, Social Security, and individual retirement plans.

In other words, students learn that if they get a job that pays $10 an hour, they don’t really bring home $10 an hour.

The class material includes lessons on saving money, investing money, earning interest and long-term planning.

A section that I believe is critically important is about managing debt and building up your credit score. Even if you’re a student with a 4.0 in advanced calculus, it takes real-life experience to appreciate how being in debt affects all of your financial decisions.

Arkansas high school students are also learning about the different types of bank accounts.

Finally, students are being taught what we call “soft” job skills. They’re basic but important lessons, such as the importance of being on time and dressing appropriately for a job interview.

I’m grateful that my colleagues in the legislature supported Act 480 of 2017, which mandates the financial literacy classes. Young people need financial skills more than ever.

From the Capitol, it is always my greatest honor and most sincere privilege to serve you as your state Senator. This is Keith Ingram.


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