9 Investigates

Action 9: More schools making money classes a priority

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Updated source code with quiz!

There's a major push to teach about money in school so students don't end up in debt like millions of Americans.

"Once you get out of high school and you're an adult, you're on your own," high school sophomore Justin Wilson said.

$38,000 IN DEBT

According to this Northwestern Mutual study about debt, in 2017, the average person owed $37,000. In 2018, it was even higher: $38,000. And that's not including home mortgages. Plus, the study found, 20 percent of people spend 50 to 100 percent of their income paying off that debt.


The group, WalletHub, ranked states according to how financially literate they were.

It looked at 15 factors, including average credit score and how many adults have rainy-day funds. One is the best. North Carolina was 13. South Carolina was 30.


About 15 states require teens to take a personal finance class to graduate. North Carolina isn't one of them. But South Carolina is thinking about it. Senate Bill 15 is working its way through the legislature.

Some school districts are taking it upon themselves to teach students about saving and investing. Union County Public Schools is discussing, starting next year, all 10th graders learning about financial literacy.

Want to test your financial literacy?

Take this personal finance quiz and check your answers at the bottom of the page. 

1. As a High school or College student how much money should you save for an Emergency?

A. $100 B. $500 C. $1500 D. $5000

2. To achieve a financial goal, what is the most important step to complete in order to accomplish the goal?

A. Write it down  B. Dream of a goal C. Talk with friends about it

3. True or False. Wealth is determined by your income.

4. What type of bank requires a membership? 

A. Credit Union B. Commercial Bank

5. When getting a loan for a car or a home what would be a great credit score?

A. 650 B. 720 C. 500 D. 400

6. When getting paid, what taxes are taken out of your paycheck?

A. Sales B. Social Security and Medicare C. Property

7. If an individual ever wants to build wealth what is the most important factor?

a. Salary B. Large Inheritance C. Making a budget

8. What type of income is your take home income?

A. Net Income B. Gross Income

9. When filling out the FAFSA for college, does it matter when the application is completed?

A. Yes, Oct. 1 opens the filling date. Students who apply early have a great chance to receive more  aid. B. No, it does not matter as long as the application is filled out by the end date June 30, 2019.

10. At what age can you take money out of your 401K without a penalty?

A. 62 B. 75 C. 59 and ½ D. 61

Action 9 sat in on two of William Woolf's personal finance classes at Sun Valley High School.

"This class is about trying to reduce your stress in life," Woolf said.  "If you get in a good habit young, then, as they increase their salary, make more money, hopefully, then they can manage that money and be wealthy."

Many students who sign up for Woolf's class go in, not even knowing what interest is.

"I didn't really have any clue about money," student Rhema Meggett said.

But, by the end of the semester, they know about principal, interest, budgets, credit cards, credit scores, saving for retirement, and the list goes on.

"I actually have a fully-funded emergency fund now," Meggett said.

As part of the course, Woolf's students play a stock market game and, last year, won first place in the state out of 700 teams.


There are a lot of personal finance classes out there. Your church may offer one.  It may even be free. Or, if you prefer, you can go online.  Here are some options:

Quiz Answers: 

  1. B
  2. A
  3. FALSE
  4. A
  5. B
  6. B
  7. C
  8. A
  9. A
  10. C