I am a huge supporter of financial literacy, for both kids and adults. Financial literacy has become more complex since I was a fifth grader back in the 80’s (I know I am dating myself here). The financial services industry has exploded offering everything from online trading to debt relief. Tax laws make filing taxes a DIY nightmare, unless you purchase software like TurboTax with a step by step guide. And, applying for a loan or a credit card of any kind requires reading twenty plus pages of fine print.
In a previous article, The Great Debate Kids and Money Matters I wrote about the responsibility of teaching personal finance. I think that a sound financial education comes from both parents and our schools. Kids model their parent’s behavior and if you are not being a good role model your kids just might pick up your bad habits. Schools teach everything from health to wildlife in class (Yes some schools have a wildlife class) so why not add personal finance to the curriculum? K-12 schools and colleges are a great place to learn the fundamental concepts and build a strong foundation for financial success. They can provide students with the ability to ask the right questions and be prepared for what is put in front of them.
Personal finance should be taught from early on and continue through adulthood, the learning should never stop.
Money & Math
Math curriculum in schools is often taught using money to teach addition and subtraction. As students learn how to multiply (usually by 5th grade) including a converse use of math to teach money skills is a great time to introduce basic saving and investing concepts like compound interest.
As students move through high school and prepare for graduation and life on their own a firm grasp of financial literacy can keep them from making financial mistakes that will cost them long into their adult years.
Some states such as North Carolina, require public schools to provide instruction in personal financial literacy for all students during the high school years. My hope is that one day this same requirement will be in place in all states.
High school often brings part-time jobs, first checking accounts, debit cards and maybe even a car loan. If students don’t have the necessary financial background to handle these things they can start off on the wrong foot.
How Financially Savvy Are You?
How smart do you think you are about managing your money? Find out by testing your personal finance IQ with these quizzes from CareOne Debt Relief Services:
I consider myself a lifelong learner, embracing new things each and everyday. When it comes to financial literacy you can never know too much. Use every opportunity to educate yourself and your kids about the dangers of credit, the benefits of saving, and budgeting basics to keep your entire family financially fit and literate.
How did you score on the quizzes?