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Why you need to take Personal Finance
May 29, 2021
Have you ever wondered why you have to take Personal Finance in high school? Personal Finance is a class that is offered at FCHS that is required to graduate. Gary Greenwood and Christine Kreitzman teach many skills you will need for the future.
“The state of VA made finance a requirement for all [high school] graduates from 2015 on because students were getting into debt as they went through college, and they didn’t understand how to manage their money,” said Kreitzman.
Aside from the fact that you have to take this class to graduate, this class provides a lot of beneficial lessons for the future. “Personal Finance is the second most important class a student will take in school. Reading is number one. Personal Finance deals with every aspect of a person’s finances. Topics include economics and how it affects your money, banking, credit, insurance, investing, earnings, taxes, buying a car, buying a house, retirement, estate planning, and budgeting,” said Greenwood.
Greenwood added that in Personal Finance, you learn anything from learning how credit cards work, to insurance and how to set up your personal banking. “These are things that students will experience soon in their financial lives,” said Greenwood. Kreitzman, who has been teaching the class for seven years, agrees. “You also learn so much [including] budgeting, money management and banking, car insurance, taxes, credit cards, debt, loans and interest rates, student loans, investing and retirement,” added Kreitzman.
When is the best time for students to take Personal Finance? “This course is best taken when a student begins to experience many of the topics in their own life: junior and senior year,” said Greenwood. Kreitzman believes that junior year is the perfect time for students to take the class as they are getting licenses and jobs around that time.
If you are waiting to take this class until you are a senior, you may want to rethink that plan. Scheduling could be an issue as you may have another class needed for graduation at the same time, which could result in some serious issues. You could take it in the summer through Virtual Virginia, but it will cost you close to $400. Your most logical choice would be to take it free through FCHS, the sooner the better.
How is this class valuable to students in the future? Kreitzman said that when students take the class seriously it is like that proverbial “light bulb” going off in their heads. “They start to understand what their parents have been talking about. They then realize that this is one of those classes that can change their life for the better. Getting into debt is easy, but not getting out is not. This class teaches them how not to get into debt,” she said.
The Personal Finance teachers at FCHS each have significant experience teaching the class. “I have been a Gold Star teacher every year I have taught this course. For three years, Fluvanna was ranked in the top 50 best schools in the Nation for Personal Finance. I won a National Award for my instructional plan for setting up a classroom like a business. I was also selected to be on the Advisory Board for the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank,” said Greenwood.
As for Kreitzman, she stated that while she is a business teacher, “This class is not really business…it’s more about having knowledge and using that knowledge wisely. I did go to a training up at JMU one summer for a week so I could get certified with the W!SE Financial Literacy test. That is our end of course test (like an SOL). The rest of the curriculum I either knew or taught myself. I’ve actually learned a lot,” added Kreitzman.
So aside from the fact that you’ll need to take this class to graduate, having an understanding of personal finance can produce huge dividends for the rest of your life. In fact, if there were three things Kreitzman could get every student to realize, they would be these: “Live beneath your means, pay yourself first, and money doesn’t make you happy.”