New Jersey official stresses financial literacy to teens

HOWELL — Last week, New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Tom Considine taught a financial literacy program to students at Howell High School. The class covered how to establish and preserve good credit, set up a budget, open checking and savings accounts, and guard against identity theft.

Howell Principal Zina Duerbig introduced Considine to students in the school’s Humanities Learning Center, which teacher Stanley Koba supervises. Guidance Supervisor Robert Galatola attended the class, as did Junior Achievement New Jersey President Catherine Milone.

“It is an absolute certainty that the financial decisions you make today will affect the opportunities you have in the future,” Considine told the class.

“You never know what kind of unexpected financial responsibilities you will have down the line. It is hard to plan for a flat tire, an unforeseen dental bill, or any number of other possibilities. Saving money now will help you with the purchases you plan for and the ones you don’t,” he said.

According to a press release, throughout the year, the Department of Banking and Insurance and its public- and private-sector partners invite school districts to participate in this ongoing financial education project.

Program participants include the New Jersey Department of Education, Junior Achievement, New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, New Jersey Bankers Association, Mortgage BankersAssociation of New Jersey, New Jersey League of Community Bankers, New Jersey Credit Union League and the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants.

New Jersey began a new financial literacy high school graduation requirement last year for 2010-11 freshmen.

All students must take at least 2.5 credits in financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy. By graduation, students will be able to demonstrate an understanding about how the economy works, their own role in it, and develop the necessary skills to effectively manage personal finances, according to the press release.