Do We Need A MANDATORY Financial Education Curriculum In Our Schools?

One of the major goals of my site (written in my disclaimer) is to be able to give my children a better financial education than I received when I was growing up.  The most financial education I have now is that I should be as frugal as humanly possible in every situation as we didn’t have much growing up.  And yes, that has lead me to where I’m at now (my post about frugality here) to an extent, but that is hardly an education in finance.

In high school I was required to take shop, home economics, care for a baby for a week.  All of these classes clearly are VERY helpful in society today (pun intended).  As electives we had the choices of automotive, music, and creative writing; which have a bit more value, but stress, BIT.  How often do I use those combined skills per day?  Per week?  I’d say it’s closer to per month and in total I’d say maybe 2 or 3 times.  How often do I have financial decisions/choices?  DAILY!  How much more value would you have gotten out of a basic “money management” course in high school, or even middle school?

I have been chatting and agreeing with The Financial Blogger a bit recently regarding his Open Letter to All Governments and he has given the ok to post a few clips from the article.  I was trying to come up with something similar and in my research stumbled across his post.  I have a few additions, but I’ll quote a few of the choice parts:

“This is an open letter to all governments. I am addressing this situation to all countries because I think it does not matter if you live in the USA or in Japan, our constant need for money is one of our biggest common points.”

Everyone needs money, and almost everyone deals with it on a daily basis!  It doesn’t matter where you live, you likely need money there…

“…ignoring financial education will result into bigger financing issues. I think it is the time for stopping this vicious circle and bring personal finance into our schools. The overall population have very little finance related knowledge and this must be addressed urgently.”

Not educating the general public about financial issues they’ll face later on it life is only exacerbating the situation at hand.  We are already a nation of HUGE debt, and fall further and further into it each day.

“Unfortunately, our children will likely repeat our very same mistakes. They will think those 36 months without interests are the only way to acquire goods and that their credit card is the key to financial freedom. Sooner or later, they will wake up as we did; half dead of working so many hours to pay our monthly bills…”

Another key point to helping my kids learn; we really do need something outside normal day to day family activities and interaction to find an education platform.

“Educating children to be more responsible about money, explaining them how to manage a budget and planning their retirement will solve several economic issues…. …If one can manage his finance, save money and invest a part of his nest egg, the overall economy will prosper and write history. We would literally start a revolution in term of financial independency and overall wealth.”

I can’t even begin to ponder how any goverment CAN’T see then benefit here.  We’d be helping ourselves by becoming a financially literate and debt-free nation that is more proactive or creating wealth instead of creating debt and lining the pockets of credit card company executives.

“…I am asking you to seriously consider the addition of financial education into our primary and high schools. This matter could easily be used to combine and integrate other academic acquisition such as mathematic and languages. After all, personal financial management could only contribute to a better future…”

Ultimately we need to find a better way to dig out of the debt.  We’ve got a crumbling Social Security and medicare structure that may not be around when the GenX’ers are old enough to use it and teaching them to crawl deeper in debt is only distancing the finish line they may never reach for financial independence.  So to whom it may concern, how do we go about building a course in the early years of school for the New Silent Generation?  I’m happy to pay for it with my tax money, and happier to jump on board any party willing to support this initiative!

Filed Under: adviceCompensationfinancial educationHouseInvestingNet WorthPassive IncomePortfolioRetirement

  • Hi Hank,

    thoughtful post, and thanks for the recommendation.

    I think you already know where I stand with regards to this issue, and you’ll only have nothing less than my full support in this!

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  • I totally agree!

  • I’m an elementary teacher. We were just having this same discussion in the teacher’s lounge 4 days ago! I think the biggest area of neglect in the school system is preparing our children to be fiscally responsible. We ALL said that we’d love to see the school systems implement classes on personal finance.

    Kayecee’s last blog post..Cross-Promotion Of Greeting Cards

  • @Kayecee – if you ever need a witness, look me up, I’m happy to swear to the benefits in a court of law! 🙂

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  • I find this article very interesting. Young people are not getting the correct financial instruction, and on top of that, they are getting bombarded by a consumer driven society telling them to spend and spend. College kids are targeted by credit card companies.

    I have even considered creating a private organization that provides financial education to high school students over the summer and market it to parents with money! 🙂

    Great article. I will be writing about this more at in the future, because like you, believe in it deeply.

    Kevin at 20s Money’s last blog post..20 Must Reads For 20-Somethings

  • Excellent post Hank. This is one of the big reasons why I’m not a huge fan of our public education system, as vitally important subjects such as these are shunned completely for no apparent reason.

    The thing is, I think kids would dig learning about finances. It’s way more fun (and useful) than a lot of the BS that is included in the curriculum. Plus, as was noted above, it would have an absolutely ENORMOUS impact on the overall health of both individuals and economies as a whole.

    BTW, Hank. Thanks for the stumble on my site! 😀

    Blake@YoungDough’s last blog post..What Are You Doing With Your Economic Stimulus Check?

  • @Kevin – let me know when you post about it; I’ll be all over it!

    @Blake – glad to stumble your site. 🙂 and I agree, kids wouldn’t find this boring at all i don’t think. They’d learn some very important lessons on life through this! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Not educating the general public about financial issues they’ll face later on it life is only exacerbating the situation at hand. I agree and The statement Education and skills development are vital to a technical writing career are 100% true and need more emphasis in all schools.

  • Problem is, if everyone has a sense of financial responsibility and knowledge of how our economy works, they will vote down any tax increase. Government wants to keep as many as possible fat, dumb and stupid. It is much easier to control sheep than it is to control independant thinkers.

    Vitallywell’s last blog post..Financial Stress Reduction

  • Jon

    There is a better way!

  • Liz

    Hey Hank, Great article. You should add Bruce Nofsinger to your list of others who are blogging about financial education in schools. He’s participated in conferences with Jump$tart and the National Association of State Treasurers as an advocate to make financial education a standard course in school systems. You can see his posts on financial education here – and read more about him here – Thanks for helping draw awareness to this important issue!

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  • gps

    Yes, I think becoming financially literate is important as it would teach a person to protect himself financially whether it's from himself or from external institutions like banks, politicians etc.