Should Our Kids Get A Financial Education In School?
I remember clearly the 30 minutes of financial education I got at the high school level. A man came into my grade 9 math class and told us how if we didn't invest in whatever it was that he was representing, our lives are destined for poverty. However, if we took x number of dollars per month and put in into an account with his investment company, at the age of 65 we would have a million dollars. A pretty far off example for a fifteen year old kid.
This is useless information to most students. The average high school student does not have large amounts of money at their disposal and even if he were suggesting that we invest $100 per month...that's a lot of money to a kid. Explaining the complex principles of the financial markets or how compound interest works is likely not going to stick with a kid that age. I know it didn't do anything but make me glad I was getting a 30 minute nap.
Perhaps parents should be teaching their kids the basics of finance at home. It's a good idea in theory, but there are lots of adults out there will terrible credit habits and mountains of debt that have no business teaching others how to use money. We need a standard curriculum based on financial decisions that they will face in the near future, like why an 18 year old with a minimum wage job should not finance a brand new vehicle.
Schools are so thorough in ensuring that students leave knowing the details about the war of 1812, how to solve complex mathematical equations, and use the periodic table but often don't know the very basics of how to use money. Why don't schools offer courses that dissect the use of auto loans, short term credit and investing? Would we not be preparing our children and thus our country for a much brighter financial future by doing so? Let's offer our kids a solid financial education built on principles that exist in todays world using examples that they will understand...cell phone bills come to mind. In doing so we can help ensure the financial wellness of our kids and our country in the future.
I'm not a teacher and certainly don't know exactly how it would look to have financial education as a mandatory subject in high school. Based on my personal experience of being broke through most of my twenties, deep in credit card debt with a brand new car, it seems that a little financial education would have done me good. getting it from home wasn't an option for me and I'm sure that's the case for many other students, so let's give them a chance by incorporating it into the curriculum.