Kudos to the state of Georgia! Not only is the southeastern U.S. state one of the eighteen “gold standard” states for financial literacy education, meaning a mandatory standalone Personal Financial Literacy (PFL) class required for high school graduation, but it is also giving all 2023 high school graduates a financial literacy book. The book, entitled The Talk [About Money]: A Young Adult’s Guide to the ONE DECISION That Changes Everything, was written by native Georgian Dale Alexander and will be distributed to approximately 120,000 graduating seniors. Alexander is a certified financial planner with years of experience as an employee benefits broker, so students get good real-world advice.
As a bonus, Alexander and his family are providing the books free of charge out of their own nonprofit organization, meaning taxpayers are catching a slight break. It would be terrific if all other states could do the same thing as Georgia!
Great Free Reads for Financial Literacy for Young Adults
Fortunately, even students outside of Georgia can access high-quality financial education literature. On the Internet, there are free financial literacy books for teens and young adults. Money and Youth: A Guide to Financial Literacy, by Gary Rabbior of the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education, is sponsored by IG Wealth Management. At 228 pages, it is a quick and basic read for high school seniors that will prepare them for the vocabulary of real-world personal finance.
There are other free books about finances and financial literacy available online, though it may take some exploring to find the right one for your situation in life.
At 57 pages, the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) publication Your Spending, Your Savings, Your Future: A Beginner’s Guide to Financial Readiness contains useful charts, checklists, and worksheets. These checklists and worksheets can be used by high school graduates in real life to help manage their finances.
Another quick book that would be an ideal reference for high school graduates is The Rough Guide to Money and Savings: Personal Finance Series by Sarah Pennels. It is only 56 pages and includes lots of colorful graphics, but is written for an English audience, so readers have to contend with pounds instead of dollars.
Personal Finance by the Saylor Foundation is a more thorough book and includes practice questions and exercises, as well as Economics topics and Personal Finance. It would be ideal as a high school senior or introductory college textbook, so it might be a little “heavy” for light reading. At 228 pages, it covers a lot of material!
More of a lengthy pamphlet than a book is Saving and Investing: A Roadmap to Your Financial Security Through Saving and Investing by the Office of Investor Education and Advocacy. Though brief, it does contain helpful checklists and worksheets.
Finally, Pearson Education has some pamphlet-length readings that are helpful for high school graduates looking at managing their own finances. Overview of a Financial Plan and Managing Your Personal Finances are good resources that include some checklists and worksheets to help guide one’s planning.
School districts across the country should strongly consider options for providing a hard copy of one high-quality financial literacy book or pamphlet to each graduate who crosses the stage!