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How much does your teen know about personal finance?

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QUINCY, IL (WGEM) -- April is Financial Literacy Month.

From balancing your check book to making a budget, how much does your teen know about personal finance?

If your kid goes to an Illinois public school, they will get some basic knowledge, like how to make a budget and balance a check book.

This comes from a required consumer economics class.

But teachers at Quincy High School hope they learn more from it.

Teacher Christopher Withiem said his class teaches students to make smart financial decisions like staying out debt, student loans, and making big purchases.

He said he’s seen the classes impact first-hand.

“I’ve been here long enough now where I’ve been able to encounter kids out of high school who now have families of their own," Withiem said. "It’s kind of amazing to see them at a grocery store and maybe they have a budgeting app on their phone or they have a tally sheet with them and I’ll be catching up with them and they’ll tell me about how they paid for college or a trade school.”

The class covers topics like world economics and the ever-changing job market.

Withiem said the class lasts one semester and students can sign up for it at anytime during their four years.

To take it to the next level, parents can help kids better understand how budgeting impacts their future.

“Anything I’m teaching your kids, I only have them for a semester," Withiem said. "You will be watching your kids develop financially for your life. So any time you can, you should embed them with some level of wisdom about opening their first checking account or helping them purchase their first car.”

Withiem said conversations about debt and the long-term commitment of taking on debt is especially important.

For more resources about understanding and taking control of your personal finances, we have more here:

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Isabella Rossi

Multimedia Journalist

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