Triangle teachers taught how to educate students on personal finances

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Some of the most important things your child can learn in middle and high school are not taught in traditional subjects.

Experts say understanding personal finances can be as important for kids as reading, writing, or arithmetic lessons.

Sandy Wheat, head of the North Carolina Council on Economic Education, says teaching kids about the value of a dollar early in life will make a difference later.

"There are more wants and needs than there are resources to satisfy those. So we must choose, and every choice that we make comes with a cost and it has consequences. Those consequences lie in the future," said Wheat.

Since April is National Financial Literacy Month, Friday was the perfect time for NCCEE and Fidelity Investments to invite 50 teachers to Fidelty's Research Triangle Park headquarters.

The teachers spent the day learning how to better teach their students valuable life lessons about finances.

One of those teachers, Marianne Farina, from Apex Middle School, says many college students are graduating with massive student debt and new jobs that don't earn them enough to pay down that debt.

"If you have $35,000 in debt and you're 24 years old, what is your income going to be? How are you going to pay your bills--unless you go back and live at home?" Farina asked.

What the teachers learned Friday will have an exponential effect on students, according to Wheat.

"If you look at that multiplier effect, those 50 teachers reaching 200 students, that's 10,000 students a year," Wheat said.

And senior executive for Fidelity's North Carolina operations Tom Ryan, a former teacher himself, says teaching personal finance before college is now more important than ever.

"When I grow up and when I taught it wasn't a focus area. But increasingly people have to be making these decisions sooner and sooner. And Fidelity's focus is about helping people make better decisions about their money," said Ryan.

Teaching the next generation to have good personal finances will also have a positive impact on the local and state economies.
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