Personal Finance Must Be Taught in School(s)
Are you talking to your children about everything you think they need to know? Do you take every opportunity to teach your child an important life lesson when things don’t go their way?
If you’re like most Americans, the answer is “probably not.” Frankly there are just not enough hours in the day, days in the week, and, this may be a shocker, sometimes kids are hard to talk to and don’t listen to you.
All the more reason that life skills like personal finance should be taught in our schools. Brian O’Connell of TheStreet.com spells is out in his post titled: Why Most of Us Want Personal Finance Taught in High School.
More and more, the problem of financial illiteracy is a problem in the U.S., with the 52% of teens being able to balance a checkbook in 2007 dropping to 36% in 2011, according to Boston-based American Consumer Credit Counseling.
Apparently, parents and teenager have had enough, with 91% of Americans and 84% of teenagers saying personal finance should be a mandatory course in high school.
A touchy subject, to be sure. Where would we squeeze it in and what subjects would we take out? As the parent of a recent high school grad and a current high school junior, I can attest to the fact that if kids’ schedules are not packed with AP classes, etc., there is a lot of room for an elective like this.
But, I’d like to make a bid that personal finance needs to be taught in college (and vo-tech, etc.). These semi-sheltered years right after high school are all about learning life lessons in a safe environment. Here we teach kids about art history or marketing or linear math, but we don’t teach them real world skills like budgeting, living within your means, or – extremely important these days – paying down student debt judiciously (let alone the class titled, “Taking out student debt judiciously”).
A few schools do offer classes like these, I have a friend whose daughter took a required personal finance class at Penn State and thought it was hard (yes, sometimes it is!), but a great class all the same. This should be an absolute mandatory class for graduation to help send the next generation into the workforce with the best foundation in financial skills possible.