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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Mar. 8, 2019 5 months ago

Penny Hoarder leader says students need better money management skills

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Kyle Taylor, who struggled with money woes, throws his support behind a financial literacy bill.

Kyle Taylor, the mastermind behind The Penny Hoarder financial advice website, which has grown into a nationally known St. Petersburg-based company, learned about money management the hard way.

Now he’s backing a bill that, if passed, would require Florida high school students to complete a financial literacy course.

SB 114, also known as the Dorothy L. Hukill Financial Literacy Act, is near and dear to Taylor, who says he racked up $50,000 in student loan and credit card debt soon after graduating from high school. He struggled for years afterward with the consequences, both financial and emotional, saying he felt embarrassed and ashamed over his inability to manage his money.

“I was not prepared for financial responsibility,” Taylor states in a press release announcing his support for the bill. “This legislation will help ensure students today are better equipped with knowledge of personal finance.”

Taylor tells Coffee Talk he intends to reach out to every state legislator to push for passage of the bill, which would ensure all Florida high school students entering ninth grade in 2019­ and beyond take a half-credit course focused on money management. He’s also penned a candid open letter of support for the bill.

“The concept of compound interest should be a part of the curriculum,” he says. “It’s hard to realize how quickly that can accumulate. And vice-versa, the concept of saving at a young age — that can make a huge difference when it comes time to buy a house or save for retirement.”

How to create and stick to a budget is another topic about which Taylor would like to see more education. He says budgeting is one of the most popular topics among readers of The Penny Hoarder, which receives about 12 million hits per month. The company, which did $37 million in sales last year, has about 100 employees. 

“A lot of young people might grow up in homes where a budget doesn’t even exist,” he says. “So I think there’s room for schools to take the lead here and teach some of those core fundamentals.”

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