TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The state of Florida recently passed a new law requiring financial literacy education to graduate high school, with support from leaders, lawmakers and the community. According to a study from WalletHub ranking states by financial literacy skills, that educational initiative couldn’t come sooner.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1054 into law on March 22, after the bill passed unanimously in both chambers of the Florida Legislature. The bill requires high schools to teach their students about money management, balancing checkbooks, and assessing financial institution services.

Students would also learn about “spending, credit, credit scores and managing debt, including retail and credit card debt,” how to fill out a loan application, what it means to receive an inheritance and its related implications, the basic principles of personal insurance policies, how to calculate federal income taxes, local tax assessments, how to compute interest rates, how to engage in “simple contracts,” how to contest incorrect billing statements, the different types of savings and investment accounts, and basic knowledge of state and federal finance laws.

The WalletHub study ranked Florida at No. 38 due to what it found were deficiencies when it came to financial knowledge and education, financial planning habits, and wallet literacy. The study said wallet literacy was based on a survey they conducted for how residents scored themselves financially for habits and knowledge.

The study of state financial knowledge was prompted in part by what the company said was a large amount of national credit-card debt, which they referred to as a “mountain.”

“We ended 2021 with close to $1 trillion in total credit-card debt. Our mountain of debt is unsurprising, considering that less than half of adults actually have a budget,” WalletHub said. In their correlation analysis, which compared education to financial literacy, Florida was a state with strong educational scores, ranked at 7th, but weak financial education and literacy.

In the WalletHub data, Florida also ranked in the group with low credit scores along with their weaker financial literacy. Overall, Florida ranked 37th for credit scores among the 50 states and District of Columbia and 38th overall for general financial literacy.

Education on credit scores and credit card use created by the newly signed Florida law is also timely, with a reported $741 billion in U.S. credit card debt at the end of 2021’s fourth financial quarter. That represented a net increase of $87.3 billion over 2021, according to WalletHub. They said it was a 63% bigger increase than after the Great Recession from 2007 to 2009.

Of the cities in Florida surveyed, the one with the largest amount of credit card debt in 2021 was Jacksonville, with more than $3.8 billion in debt on its own.

Here are the Florida cities surveyed for credit card debt totals in 2021.

Florida CityCredit Debt
Pembroke Pines, Fla.$811,856,197
Port St. Lucie, Fla.$732,916,465
Hialeah, Fla.$820,054,548
Cape Coral, Fla.$812,562,865
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.$996,285,862
Tallahassee, Fla.$864,146,000
Miami, Fla.$2,123,165,999
Tampa, Fla.$1,748,876,222
Jacksonville, Fla.$3,883,493,148
St. Petersburg, Fla.$1,236,082,307
Orlando, Fla.$1,097,954,471
(Source: WalletHub)

Florida cities surveyed for the credit card debt study totaled a collective $15,127,394,084.