Editor: My generation has not been taught the basics of financial literacy. I never learned how to apply for a credit card without getting scammed, as a result, I’ve never gotten one. My fears aren’t unfounded, many companies prey on ignorance with complicated contracts that make it difficult to spot terrible interest rates and fees. In fact, 21% of credit card consumers don’t even know if they have debt. This is not a frivolous concern; my partner and I always pay our rent on time, but mortgage companies see us as unreliable due to our lack of credit history.
When I was 18 years old, two of my relatives declared bankruptcy because of credit card debt, and I’m fearful of experiencing the same situation. As a young person, I had heard the term “credit score”, but it was an abstract idea that I and none of my peers understood; we didn’t know having a good credit history is a requirement of accessing basic needs in our society. If we had adequate financial literacy education, I would have been able to start building my credit history with confidence because I would have had the tools to know what I was getting into, and how to manage that huge responsibility. We’re not alone, Only 34% of our community can pass a basic financial literacy test. As our economy gets more stacked in favor of those at the top, working class young people need support with making major life decisions.
This widespread ignorance is not acceptable. We need to strengthen financial literacy standards in our high schools so our youth have all the skills they need to successfully navigate adulthood, which is why I’m urging Colorado state legislators to vote yes on Revise Student Financial Literacy Standards (HB21-1200).
— Paulina Castle, via [email protected]olorado.com