Personal Finance

The Importance of Teaching Financial Education in Schools

The importance of financial education

October 19, 2021

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Why isn’t financial education part of the standard, required course curriculum in high schools and colleges around the country? If you earn money, save money or spend money, then having an understanding of personal finance will be beneficial for you.

So here we are, in school, getting an education so that we can grow up to be productive members of society, build a career and earn money to live our lives. And yet, we aren’t taught about the basic understanding of how money works.

Riddle me that.

I just cannot understand or wrap my head around the fact that I was required to take an Astronomy class in college, to check off some Lab requirement, as opposed to a financial education course that would help guide me towards future financial success. A course that would give me the basics around budgeting, saving, investing and debt.

Instead, I was busy looking up at the stars on a Tuesday night or praying all day that it would be cloudy so that lab would be cancelled. Doesn’t really seem like a great use of college education funds to be learning about something that would hold absolutely no value in my future career or personal life.

Wouldn’t A Financial Education Course Simply Make Sense?

Is a course focused on personal finance not provided because there are so few people in this country that understand these concepts? I don’t know the answer to that. But what I do know, is that every single person in this country would benefit by receiving a Personal Finance 101 course during high school and/or college.

A course that would give students and the younger generation an objective, information based course on how to manage their money and why it’s important to do so. A course on money that wouldn’t be influenced by the money habits, opinions or behaviors that they observe from the mentors around them.

I received a college education specifically geared towards Finance and Accounting. And I can tell you confidently that even those courses…

….didn’t even scratch the surface on learning the importance of understanding personal finance.

Today, I have an abundance of knowledge around personal finance, tax, debt, business ownership, generational wealth, trusts and estates, investing, etc. I taught myself, I double majored in accounting and finance and spent the last 12 years working with and advising clients on how best to manage their money. That is how I became an expert in the industry.

But the thing is, you don’t need to be an expert to make smart financial choices or to create financial abundance. What you do need is an understanding of the basics around personal finance and why certain financial decisions could impact you positively or negatively in the future.

What Schools Could Be Teaching Students About Personal Finance

Kids in high school could be learning about…

  • A basic understanding of the four pillars of Money –
    • Earning money
    • Saving money
    • Spending money
    • Giving money
  • Tax – who files taxes and why
  • Budgeting – how to create boundaries around your spending to be able to achieve certain financial goals
  • Learning the difference between a need and a want and the opportunity cost associated with that
  • Saving – the differences between a savings account and a checking account
  • The difference between a debit and a credit card

Young adults in college could be learning about…

  • The importance of credit and how it impacts other financial opportunities in the future
  • The differences between renting and buying real estate and why one may opt for one choice over another
  • Investing 101 – the Power of Compounding and the importance of investing early and often
  • Filling out employment forms or understanding retirement options when you first start working
  • The different ways to generate income and the concept around multiple streams of income – earning through a job, investing, rental income, etc.
  • Debt – an understanding of how it can be used productively but if mismanaged, how it can be detrimental to your financial health

I could go on and on with about 100+ bullet points here around topics that each and every single one of those students will face and question in the first 10 years out of high school.

But instead, many of them will have to figure it out on their own.

Why Does Having a Financial Education Matter So Much?

I have always loved working, building up my bank account and learning about all things money; what it does, how it works…

And my personal favorite – how to make more of it.

I guess that is why I am sitting on the other end of this computer writing all of this. I enjoy the process of making money, using that money to afford different experiences in my life and I simply have a passion for helping others navigate through their financial journey.

I want you to take ownership of your money, feel in control and feel confident in your financial decision making power. In addition to that, I am SO passionate about wanting that same thing for the younger generation.

I want to help your kids and/or help you educate your children so that they can understand that money can work for them. Money can create opportunities, experiences for them and simply the freedom to choose.

Money will give them options and the realization that they do not need any one particular person, one particular job or one thing to rely on. They can create the wealth and the life they want.

I am pleased to see that as of 2020, more and more schools are beginning to consider the idea of financial education courses for students – according to a CNBC article. But we’ve still got a long way to go to boost the younger generations confidence as it relates to money.

If you are a parent…

I challenge you to start having open conversations with your kids about money.

“By age 3, your kids can grasp basic money concepts. By age 7, many of their money habits are already set.” (1)

Financial habits and behaviors are adapted at an early age. Providing some basics around financial education would help better prepare them for adulthood and how to make smart, well informed financial decisions that will continue to have an impact on their future.

Help them understand the concept of earning money, saving money, spending money and investing money. Start small and encourage a dialogue. They are looking to you to set the tone and I think we all can agree that having a financial education is a necessary and fundamental part of our lives.

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(1) https://www.pbs.org/newshour/economy/making-sense/money-habits-are-set-by-age-7-teach-your-kids-the-value-of-a-dollar-now

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