Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams was joined by Brooklyn and local financial experts for a Financially Savvy Youth Conference at Brooklyn College.
During the conference, Adams called on the State Legislature to establish a financial education curriculum for New York middle and high school students.
"We need financial education taught to every young New Yorker so they can have an early start on establishing a bright financial future," said the borough president. "I made so many mistakes as a young man because I never had this information, and I wasted so much money. Teaching these 'soft skills' is foundational, like ensuring the gears of a machine are properly oiled, to closing the inequality gap and helping create self-sufficient families."
Adams added that implementing a financial education curriculum has been demonstrated to improve students' credit scores and increase savings rates.
The borough president cited a range of evidence showing that financial security is an increasing concern for millennials. A 2016 survey from Bank of America found that only 16 percent of Americans between ages 18 to 26 are very optimistic about their financial future. This is significantly influenced by the student loan debt crisis, which, as of the fourth quarter of 2018, totals $1.56 trillion from 44.7 million borrowers.
"Our education system has failed to train an entire generation of students to be fiscally responsible adults," said Queens Assemblymember Daniel Rosenthal, who sponsored a bill that would introduce financial education in New York schools. "As the cost of living and student debt continue to rise in New York, it is imperative that we introduce a financial literacy curriculum so that our children are given opportunities for success."
In 2017, Borough President Adams and Brooklyn Councilmember Mark Treyger sponsored legislation aimed at helping parents prepare for future college expenses through greater participation in postsecondary education financial planning and saving programs. The bill has since been signed into law.
"Financial literacy classes should be included in every high school's curriculum so our students can venture out into the world equipped for success," said Treyger. "If we don't properly prepare our young adults to responsibly manage their finances, then we are setting them up for failure."