June 8, 2022
The Honorable Christopher T. Sununu
Office of the Governor
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
Dear Governor Sununu:
I write today to thank you for your continued leadership in preparing tomorrow’s leaders by providing quality financial literacy education to every child in the state. Financial education is a fundamental component of preparing students for adulthood, with the far-reaching benefits for students and their families that will reverberate for generations.
In particular, I am grateful for your signature of HB 1263, legislation that is crucial to the development of a well-rounded child into a well-prepared adult. The new law provides for prescribed studies in health, physical education, wellness, and financial literacy. As the Executive Director of FitMoney, I am tremendously encouraged by the inclusion of personal financial literacy for K-12 students now set for New Hampshire schools.
As Representative Rick Ladd, Republican of Grafton, pointed out during committee testimony, while advocates have long sought the inclusion of financial literacy on the education agenda, language to enforce that requirement is rarely included in statute. I am grateful for Rep. Ladd's testimony and commend Representative Jerry Knirk, Democrat from Freedom, as its lead sponsor, for taking this significant and nonpartisan step forward.
Three-fourths of Americans rank their finances as the top stress in their lives. That’s understandable, with 56% of families unable to cover an emergency over $1,000 and 45% of households carrying credit card debt. But equipping New Hampshire’s youth to be good stewards of their finances will promote better outcomes and bring down the anxiety level in years to come.
New Hampshire is now on a journey of financial health and will join states who are already reaping startling returns on their financial literacy program investments. Studies show that when students receive financial literacy education in school, they are more likely to save and pay off their credit cards in full each month. Those students were also less likely to max out their credit card, make late credit card payments or be compulsive buyers.
Financial literacy is one of the greatest life skills we can share with young people, as vital to their education as reading or math for a well-rounded classroom experience. As we continue to grapple with the consequences of the global pandemic and rising inflation, understanding how to prudently manage one’s finances may be what makes the difference between success and ruin for young adults just entering the workforce.
Research shows that financial behaviors are formed as early as age 7, so we must instill strong financial habits at a very early age to help ensure today’s youth are equipped to handle tomorrow’s fiscal challenges. With HB 1263 the school board has both the mandate and the latitude to do this. I’m hopeful that with your continued leadership they’ll deliver on this opportunity for students across the Granite State.
Personal financial literacy education works, and I could not be more enthused that New Hampshire is on board and leading the way. You have made a strong statement that your students’ financial acumen is a priority for the state.
Thank you again for your leadership on this issue. Please continue to shine a light on the importance of this crucial instruction and encourage other leaders to follow New Hampshire’s example so that young people everywhere might be prepared for a financially fit future.
Executive Director, FitMoney
CC: Representative Rick Ladd
Representative Jerry Knirk