Should Personal Finance be taught in School?

children_classroom2.jpgI was involved in a discussion some time back and we were discussing this and all of us thought it was ridiculous that they don’t teach a personal finance class in high school, at least not when we were in school. Is it any wonder that when kids go off to college they rack up so much debt? According to some statistics I read that the average undergraduate has credit card debt!

The logic behind teaching children and teenagers about personal finance is pretty obvious. Just think of all of the finance clichés that you’ve heard: start investing as early as you can, the most important factor in investing is time, don’t get into credit card debt, etc. – all things that are best to learn sooner rather than later.

And because many basic aspects of personal finance currently aren’t taught in school and are left to be learned at home, this current system seems to nurture the fact that wealthy people tend to stay wealthy and poor people tend to stay poor. I don’t think it takes a giant leap of faith to see the possible correlation.

A simple personal finance class with discussions on retirement, the negative impact debt can have on a person, automobile financing, and saving for the future instead of buying for the now should be implemented in every single high school across the country.

The best long term solution is educating people so that they want to save by making financial capability a compulsory part of the school curriculum and embarking on a public awareness campaign to show the potential hazards of not saving.

Did I really need to learn Chemistry if I had no interest in any fields that would need it? I would think that learning how to control one’s money would be of more help to most people. Thoughts? Did you have finance classes in high school? If you did, did they help? I would love to hear about your experiences!

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11 Responses

  1. Reggie B. says:

    In reference to your article about “Teaching personal finance in school” Forget the school just buy them a copy of “The Insider’s Guide to Saving Money” by Michael Ellenbogen. It covers all sorts of topics like saving money, banking, travel, insurance, customer service issues, how to search the internet, dining, real estate, buying items cheap, automobile tips and many more. I’m telling you this book covers everything. The book gets right to the point and makes it easy to learn. I now recommend the book to everyone.
    http://www.michaelellenbogen.com

  2. Robin Bal says:

    Hi Reggie,

    I agree “The Insider’s Guide to Saving Money” must be a great a great book, however it might be a little difficult to get a schoolboy to read and understand it. Thanks for your comment and passing by.

    Cheers.

  3. To answer the question in the title of your post, i’d answer: yes, it should be taught in school! definitely! When i think about all the people i know i can hardly find one that knows how to manage their finances correctly. Even myself, i read books and books on money management and personal finances and stuff. Didn’t learn that in school. Well with had, in high-school, a class called “economic education”, but i have never used anything i’ve learned from taking that course in “real life”

    Excellent post Robin!

  4. Robin Bal says:

    Hey Jon,

    I am with you 100% on that mate, personal finance should be taught in school. I may not have had to learn all about personal finance the hard way, if it was taught in school. Good comment mate, an extension to the post itself.

    Take care and cheers buddy.

  5. Manila Mom says:

    I agree a hundred percent. In fact, I had a related post on my Credit Ability blog. With a solid basic personal finance foundation,kids will grow up knowing how to use credit as a tool rather than a crutch. They may find that they could even do without it most of the time.

  6. Robin Bal says:

    Thanks for your visit and comment. I liked what you said “use credit as a tool than a crutch”. I am off to check your post on Credit Ability blog, didn’t know you had two, I am only familiar with Manila Mom.

    Cheers mate, take care and GOD bless.

  7. Jag says:

    To the question, I will say a resounding YES.

    Kids should be taught personal finance at an early age. They will learn to appreciate how easy is it to spend money and how hard is it to earn it.

    A good grounding in personal finance will only benefit them in future, as they grow up to be financially responsible adults.

    Good message you are sending out here, as always!

    Cheers,
    Jag

  8. Robin Bal says:

    Hi Jag,

    Unfortunately a lot of us learn the hard way as to what it takes to earn money, spending is so easy especially if you havnt earned it.

    Your comments are always an extension to my post, thanks mate.

    Cheers.

  9. diogenes says:

    Added in Technorati favs with pleasure.

  10. tjkenny13 says:

    Personal finance should be a mini-course taught outside regular class time. Needs to be about four weeks long and contain eight learning packets (two packets per 5 days). Packets should contain exercises that are hands-on experiences of the real McCoy. Suggested titles: (1) balancing a bank checking and or savings account with a packet of real checks, a real balance sheet,
    and at least three errors spanning 90 days;
    (2) using credit cards and reviewing law cases that are examples of unprotected credit resources and bankruptcy; (3) developing a personal budget using MONEY 2007; (4)setting up a personal property inventory using a spread sheet; (5) conducting a review of personal insurance needs (life, health, auto, and property, and especially LIABILITY) with emphasis on how to leave MOM and Dad’s domain: especially the RENTER’S INSURANCE promise to the individual who’s standing in the rain looking at his burning, water-soaked apartment building; (6) entering a marriage agreement with all the major topics causing an early divorce covered; (7) reviewing the principals of SAVING MONEY and INVESTING IN THE STOCK/BOND MARKETS; (8) planning for retirement and death.

  1. April 18, 2007

    […] at Fortune Watch, there is a discussion about whether personal finance should be taught in High School. I think that offering a personal […]

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