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Mapped: Personal Finance Education Requirements, by State

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U.S. map with states coloured according to the percentage of students guaranteed to receive personal finance education

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The Percentage of Students Receiving Personal Finance Education

When you graduated from high school, did you know how to create a budget? Did you have an understanding of what stocks and bonds were? Did you know how to do your own taxes?

For many Americans, the answer to these questions is probably a “no”. Only 22.7% of U.S. high school students are guaranteed to receive a personal finance education. While this is up from 16.4% in 2018, this still represents a small fraction of students.

This graphic uses data from Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF) to show the percentage of high school students required to take a personal finance course by state.

A Closer Look at State-level Personal Finance Education

A standalone personal finance course was defined as a course that was at least one semester, which is equivalent to 60 consecutive instructional hours. Here’s the percentage of students in each state who have a required (not optional) personal finance course.

State/Territory% of Students Required to Take Personal Finance Course
Mississippi100.0%
Missouri100.0%
Virginia100.0%
Tennessee99.7%
Alabama99.6%
Utah99.6%
Iowa91.3%
North Carolina89.2%
Oklahoma47.1%
New Jersey43.0%
Nebraska42.8%
Kansas40.8%
Wyoming38.3%
Arkansas34.6%
Wisconsin33.5%
South Dakota27.1%
Ohio23.5%
Pennsylvania16.2%
Maine15.6%
Rhode Island14.8%
Connecticut14.7%
Illinois13.9%
Maryland12.5%
North Dakota12.2%
Vermont12.1%
Nevada11.0%
Indiana10.9%
Oregon7.5%
Minnesota6.9%
Montana6.9%
New Hampshire6.0%
Kentucky5.5%
Colorado5.4%
Delaware5.0%
Massachusetts5.0%
West Virginia3.2%
Louisiana2.7%
Washington2.4%
Texas2.2%
New York2.0%
Michigan1.7%
Idaho1.4%
Arizona1.0%
California0.8%
South Carolina0.8%
Alaska0.6%
Florida0.4%
New Mexico0.4%
Georgia0.0%
Hawaii0.0%
Washington, D.C.0.0%

Eight states currently have state-wide requirements for a personal finance course: Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Iowa, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia. Naturally, the level of personal finance education is highest in these states.

Five states have begun the process of implementing a requirement, with Florida being the most populous state yet to guarantee personal finance education for high schoolers. The state previously required schools to offer a personal finance course as an elective, but only 5% of students took the course.

Outside of the guarantee states, only 9.3% of students are required to take a personal finance course. That number drops to 5% for schools that have a high percentage of Black or Brown students, while students eligible for a free or reduced lunch program (i.e. lower income students) also hover at the 5% number.

Why is Personal Financial Education Important?

The majority of Americans believe parents are responsible for teaching their children about personal finance. However, nearly a third of parents say they never talk to their children about finances. Personal finance education at school is one way to help fill that gap.

People who have received a financial education tend to have a higher level of financial literacy. In turn, this can lead to people being less likely to face financial difficulties.

Chart showing that people with low financial literacy are more likely to face financial difficulties, such as being unable to cover an unexpected $2,000 expense, compared to people with high financial literacy

People with low levels of financial literacy were five times more likely to be unable to cover one month of living expenses, when compared to people with high financial literacy. Separate research has found that implementing a state mandate for personal finance education led to improved credit scores and reduced delinquency rates.

Not only that, financial education can play a key role in building wealth. One survey found that only one-third of millionaires averaged a six-figure income over the course of their career. Instead of relying on high salaries, the success of most millionaires came from employing basic personal finance principles: investing early and consistently, avoiding credit card debt, and spending carefully using tools like budgets and coupons.

Expanding Access to Financial Education

Once the in-progress state requirements have been fully implemented, more than a third of U.S. high school students will have guaranteed access to a personal finance course. Momentum is expanding beyond guarantee states, too. There are 48 personal finance bills pending in 18 states according to NGPF’s financial education bill tracker.

Importantly, 88% of surveyed adults support personal finance education mandates—and most wish they had also been required to take a personal finance course themselves.

When we ask the next generation of graduates if they understand how to build a budget, it’s more likely that they will confidently say “yes”.

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Personal Finance

Mapped: Federal Tax Paid Per Capita Across Canada

We show which provinces and territories pay the most and least tax after adjusting for the number of tax filers in each jurisdiction.

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A Canadian map of federal tax paid per capita with the values for BC, Alberta, NWT, Ontario and Quebec as question marks

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The following content is sponsored by Fidelity Investments

Mapped: Federal Tax Paid Per Capita Across Canada

Which parts of Canada pay the most personal tax? In 2021, according to the latest available data, people in Ontario paid by far the greatest share: 42% of the total. Of course, Ontario is also the most populated province.

But if we look at which parts of the country paid the most and least taxes on a per capita basis, the picture looks different. In this graphic from Fidelity Investments, we show the amount paid per tax filer for each province and territory.

A Breakdown of Tax Per Person

We took the total personal federal tax paid in each province according to 2021 tax filing data from the Canada Revenue Agency. We then divided the total tax paid by the number of people filing taxes in the province. Below, we rank the provinces and territories from least to most taxes on this basis.

Province or TerritoryFederal Tax Paid Per Person
New Brunswick$4,186
Prince Edward Island$4,491
Nova Scotia$4,708
Manitoba$5,001
Newfoundland and Labrador$5,033
Quebec$5,352
Saskatchewan$5,596
Nunavut$6,314
British Columbia$6,828
Yukon$6,897
Ontario$6,969
Alberta$7,608
Northwest Territories$7,876
All of Canada$6,368

All of Canada is calculated as the total federal taxes paid in Canada divided by the total number of tax filers in Canada.

New Brunswick paid the least taxes on a per capita basis. Within the province, 13% of people worked in retail jobs, the highest proportion nationally. Retail positions in New Brunswick earned $34,000 annually on average. As a whole, 71% of people in New Brunswick earned less than $49,000 per year.

The Highest Taxes Per Capita

The Northwest Territories (NWT) paid the most taxes relative to the number of tax filers. Public administration workers made up nearly a quarter of tax filers, four times the national share of 6%. These workers, which include local, provincial, federal, and aboriginal government employees, had an average annual income of $120,000 in the NWT.

Additionally, the territory also had a relatively high proportion of people working in mining, who earned $221,000 a year on average.

However, it’s important to note that the NWT faces a high cost of living. On average, households in the capital city of Yellowknife paid 28% more for food and 47% more for shelter than the average Canadian household in 2021.

On a per person basis, Ontario paid the third highest taxes in Canada. The province had the highest proportion of finance and insurance workers, who earned $106,000 annually.

Reducing Your Taxes

Generally, a higher income leads to higher taxes. However, you can explore allowable deductions such as RRSP contributions to save more of your money.

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Use Fidelity’s income tax calculator to quickly estimate your taxes.

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