Should Schools have Money Management Classes?

c0036918.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 I was 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! My friend Shane has recently done a three post job on getting out of debt and each one worth reading.

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.

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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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20 Responses

  1. Karen Lim says:

    Hey Robin, actually they could start off teaching financial intelligence (FQ) by playing the cashflow game (RK). We started playing the kids version with my girl at 4 years old and she already have an investment portfolio at the age of 6 😛

    Yes, we should start young. But I have an idea why governments don’t actively teach FQ, if all of their citizens practice proper investment, staying off liabilities and focus on asset building, the impact to the retail sector of the country can be disastrous.

    That may be a possible reason :)

    Cheers
    Karen

  2. Robin Bal says:

    Hi Karen,

    Thanks for your comment. What you said makes lot of sense, teaching FQ in schools could have a disastrous effect on the retail sector 😆 .

    Really nice to know that your little girl already has an investment portfolio. My parents tried to teach me to save, I did learn a bit, but not to save and keep but to save and spend. So in reality I didn’t learn to save and keep, I only learnt to save and spend a little later. 😉

    Take care and cheers.

  3. Zakman says:

    All I had in high school were subjects like geography, where I learned that they grew barley in Brazil and pepper in Poland.

    And oh yeah, there was a chapter on economics in Social Studies, but it only talked about GDP’s and national budgets.

    I did learn some personal finance at home, though. And on the streets.

  4. Robin Bal says:

    Hi Zakman,

    I cant really list out the things I learned in school over here, for obvious reasons 😉 .

    I do firmly believe that if Personal Finance was taught in school I might have started a retirement plan when I started working at 20 and could have easily retired yesterday.

    Guess there are a few things in life we learn the hard way and Money Management was definitely one of them.

    Take care and cheers

  5. Shane says:

    Hey Robin,

    Finance should be taught in public schools (it is in some private schools and certain clubs that mostly cater to wealthy families). And the key things we all need to learn early are living within our means, and how to pay ourselves first.

    I skipped most of my Chemistry classes 😉

  6. Hey Robin! :)
    I had finance classes in high school, which, to be totally honest, I hated, but some of the things I’ve learned back then help me today, which I’m glad.

    Maybe one of the reasons I hated those classes was because I couldn’t understand how important it was (trust me, I do now! hehe). I guess if they had introduced finance with a different approach and been more consistant (1 lesson per week wasn’t enough), I would’ve liked the classes, but unfortunately they didn’t.

    But still, I learned a lot, just need to put things in practice now :)

  7. Our education system doesn’t have FQ included and that’s probably why many people grew up to be finanically handicapped. Had I have more knowledge and experience in this area, I would have started investment the moment I joined the work force. And most likely would not suffer so many knocks and bruises when I started my own business. I agreed that kids should be taught money management when they are young.

    (PS: Check your email)

  8. Robin Bal says:

    Hi Shane,

    Yeah thats the whole point, we need to learn early to live within our means. I skipped most of my Chemistry classes too 😉 . I love nature so Biology and National Geographic magazines made more sense to me.

    Take care and cheers

  9. Robin Bal says:

    Hi Viv,

    Thanks for your comment. Had I known the importance of money management I would have started long term investing too when I started working. I suffered knocks and bruises too but still didn’t learn.

    If someone said ‘save for a rainy day I would say it doesn’t rain much around these parts. Well at least now I practice what I preach.

    Take care and cheers

  10. Without doubt, children should have to learn financial management. I am teaching my two sons, 10 and 12 years old about compound interest, credit control, and planning for the future. i so wished I had been taught about money management when i was younger.

    Thanks for the post, you have a good blog here.

  11. Rod Thomas says:

    Hi Robin

    Good article, I have been involved with financial management most of my life but i didn’t learn it in school, I was fortunate enough to learn from my peers and my family. It would highly beneficial for chidlren to learn financial management in school.

    Imagine having financial knowledge by the time you left high school, it would be great, however not so good for the Government.

  12. I just visited http://www.cheufong.com at your blogroll and noticed that the writer has a series of 4 posts on teaching kids money sense

    Coincidental? Still, it’s an interesting find.

  13. Cheufong says:

    Hi Robin,
    Thanks for writing about this. Much needed.

    In our official education curriculum, there is no personal financial management module. Though I heard from some friends, some schools are now engaging outside trainers to teach kids financial intelligence. I’m not sure about the exact contents, however, I could say it’s good start.

    My days in school passed by quickly without the slightest clue about money management. You’d probably have read about my personal experience and mistakes with money management on my blog. I always say, I’d be a rich woman now, if only I learnt how to manage my money when I was younger.

    That’s why I strongly agree that learning how to control one’s money would be of more help to most people. I can’t remember much about chemistry, except on dates 😛
    And that’s why I’ve included some articles on teaching kids money sense on my blog.

    Bottom line to me -not all families teach kids how to manage money properly. To bridge the divide between the rich and the poor, the education system could do something.

  14. Anna says:

    We didn’t have money management courses in high school either – but I would have jumped at the opportunity if it meant I could have avoided political science! ughh! lol.

    I think every high school should have a money management class. I started teaching my kids about money early, by getting them their own bank cards and making them responsible for a portion of their own purchases. If they wanted something bad enough, they would save their allowances until they could afford it, otherwise they did without.

    My older son (he’s 22 now and a carpenter) finally got his first vehicle after putting away a portion of his pay for a year into savings. He was able to pay cash and avoid all the hassle of bank loans or leases. That’s the difference.

    Take care;
    Anna

  15. Pinyo says:

    This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I got the other non-academic education classes like man and woman thing (don’t want to use the 3-letter word) and driver ed. I think money management education is absolutely essential. I think junior year in high school is the perfect time; or it could a requirement for getting junior work permit.

  16. aznewsh says:

    Great post! I dearly wish this subject would be taught at school. My daughter will not even be born until November, yet her college savings and retirement plan has already been started by me.
    I will take great care to teach her personal finances, all the things I wish I would have known when i was younger.

  17. Robin Bal says:

    Hi Aznewsh,

    You have done a great job by already by starting off early for your daughters college education. Personally I would have been better off if I had learned finance management early.

    Take care and cheers

  18. Chad says:

    In Texas we had (in 98) a course called Math of Money. It wasn’t required so most people didn’t take it. It basically taught us to balance a check book, budgeting for the household expenses and some other extremely common sense stuff – it was basically the blow-off elective that many took as a senior.

    I really wish it had covered TVM and maybe even concepts of valuation and different measures of risk. Understanding TVM is the one thing that may keep kids from jumping at all those credit card offers they are about to receive; I never understood how they completely ignored that point.

  19. Daghead says:

    I wish this had been an option for me in High School, and even feel it should have been mandatory… Because now I’m left having no idea how to think of the money in my bank accounts like putting cash in separate folders, let alone how to do my taxes. The lack of such a class is another reason to lack faith in humanity’s common sense.
    .-= Daghead´s last blog ..Overcapitalization =-.

  1. September 14, 2007

    […] have been giving this subject a lot of thought lately. After reading Should Schools have Money Management Classes?, an excellent post from Fortune Watch, I am finally going to write about this. As far as I can […]

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