Financial education is now required in Washington schools, and new standards will cover subjects such as spending, saving, wages, insurance, and Roth IRAs.

Soft SkillsAccording to the state superintendent’s office, the financial literacy standards are the first of their kind in the state. Superintendent Randy Dorn noted that if more people had been educated about banks and lending, the financial crisis may not have been as devastating as it was in 2008 and 2009.

“Students need to understand financial terms,” he said. “They need to know what interest is, how to calculate taxes, when to begin investing. Giving them those tools may help us avert the next financial crisis.”

Five other topics with join the usual discussions of spending and saving: credit and debt, employment and income, investing, risk management and insurance, and financial decisions.

The financial literacy standards will be integrated into classroom activities in subjects such as math or social studies classes. Second graders will compare different types of savings methods, such as piggy banks or bank savings accounts.  High School seniors will develop a personal financial plan, or make a budget complete with an estate plan, a net worth statement and goals.

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