Jen sent me a link to a very interesting article from Boston.com. The Boston Bar Association and the District of Massachusetts US Bankruptcy Court are running a five-part program to help teens with personal finance issues. It comes complete with a scare tactic for the last lesson…the students sit in on a mock bankruptcy hearing.
Financial-literacy programs have sprung up in all 50 states, many of them launched by lawyers and bankruptcy judges who have had a firsthand glimpse of the social wreckage debt can cause. “Bankruptcy judges have realized in the past few years that there’s a gap in education, that many high schools aren’t teaching students about personal finance,” said Judge Feeney, who presided over the mock hearing. “We’ve decided to fill that gap.”
After reading the reactions from some of the students that were interviewed for the article, it sounds like the program is working. One student learned that credit card interest rates can rise as high as 25% when he thought it was only 5%. As of right now, 750 students have attended the program.
I don’t know about you, but if I was a teen and had to attend a bankruptcy hearing, I think that would have made me think twice about getting my first credit card in college. It also would have been beneficial to learn the other things that they covered in the first four sections of the program (budgeting, taxes, wants vs. needs). It would be interesting to follow up with the students they interviewed a few years from now to see how they are doing financially.
Thanks Jen for the link!