New Bill for Financial Literacy in Connecticut

money jim stigmanThe Department of Education in Connecticut is now required to offer a course dedicated to financial literacy in the state’s high schools and colleges. While there was a bill approved by the House of Representatives, there was no mandate put in place. This means that educational institutions will be required to offer the class, but students are not necessarily required to take it.

Connecticut high schoolers are currently required to take credits in career and life skills. As of the class of 2020, courses in financial literacy will begin to count within the career and life skills area. Present law instructs schools to teach personal finance, as far as proper usage of credit and debit cards. However, the new regulations will require the inclusion of the background of the labor movement and free-market capitalism to be counted too.

The financial literacy curriculum will be developed with the help of the state’s Department of Education, the board of regents of higher education, and the board of trustees for the University of Connecticut. Topics will include personal finance, the banking system, savings, and investments. Votes from the House of Representatives were in favor at a difference of 144 to 2. Rep. Bill Simanski points out the value in the type of curriculum. He shared that financial literacy is a key to success especially for young adults. He wishes that something like this existed when his children were in college and high school.

To learn more about this curriculum bill passed for Connecticut, visit the Courant online here.

How to Spring Clean Your Finances

brush-jim stigmanThe seasons have changed and those on the east coast of the United States are finally catching the feeling. During this time, It is not uncommon to use the warm weather to your advantage by cleaning out the things you no longer need. You may be cleaning out your closet, your dresser, or car. However, don’t forget to pay special attention to those finances. After a short assessment, you will most likely realize that those need some cleaning love too. Try implementing these steps for a more minimalistic financial picture.

Before you decide what to get rid of, take the time to define the word clutter. Stress may be a good indicator of what items are a burden. If it functions, leave it alone, but if it causes distress, deal with it.

Gather everything in one place and create a sorting system. Separate the documents from temporary to permanent. Also, acknowledge what things appear online. If there is a digital copy, a hard copy will be unnecessary. Some examples of categories may be pay stubs, tax forms, and bills.

After identifying the permanent documents, develop an emergency kit to house everything in one spot. You may need to access any variety of paperwork in case of an unexpected situation. Examples of documents to keep in case of emergency include birth certificates, deeds, marriage licenses, and records of paid mortgages.

There is an appropriate timeline for certain articles of paperwork After one year, pay stubs, utility bills, quarterly investment statements, and cancelled checks or bank statements can be shredded. Certain steps and check should take place before discarding items, but once you are sure, discard and don’t look back. Items to keep for at least three years include home improvement records, medical bills and cancelled insurance policies, and income tax returns.

Those are just a few tips to consider this April, which is National Financial Literacy Month. To learn more from Penn State’s financial literacy expert, Daad Rizk, see the PSU article here.