Comptroller Franchot: Teens need training as much as adults

By Erich Wagner Staff Writer

Financial literacy and investment experts stressed at a meeting last week the need for Prince George’s County residents to have access to financial training, but added that perhaps even more important is the need for teens to get the same education.

At a town hall meeting Thursday at Oxon Hill High School, state and federal officials and financial experts discussed the importance of financial literacy and sought to connect the roughly 40 attendees with local training groups, such as the Maryland CASH Campaign, a Baltimore-based nonprofit focused on providing financial literacy and stability in the state.

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) said the meeting was part of his campaign to improve financial literacy and residents’ ability to plan for their futures. He also cited the recent implementation of a system allowing state residents to automatically deposit their Earned Income Tax Credit refunds across their checking, saving and retirement bank accounts as part of the effort.

Franchot, who arranged the event, described financial literacy as “a civil right,” adding that students in Maryland should be required to take the subject as a six-week course before graduating from high school.

“We have a responsibility to educate them about the economy and personal finance,” Franchot said. “We need to teach budgeting, saving and how to build credit. And it will have far-reaching effects.”

Financial literacy courses are key to encouraging teens to aspire to be entrepreneurs and small business owners, said John Hope Bryant, chairman of the Underserved and Community Empowerment Subcommittee of President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability.

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