This one has been bugging me for awhile. And, I know that others have raised the question too – of why personal finance isn't being taught in high schools and/or colleges for that matter (heck, it'd even be interesting to see it being taught in grade schools!).
I know Charlie has talked about some of the advice he's gotten in some of his college classes by a wise professor. But, I think that seems to be an exception rather than the rule.
On the whole – teachers seem to be skipping over one of the most important lessons that can be taught in schools today. And truthfully, it isn't exactly all their fault. It's administration, the school boards, legislators and even parents. I'm sure if enough parents were pushing that personal finance be taught in schools, it'd get taught.
The lack of education in finances can really set a graduate back if they make a lot of foolish money decisions.
My memory is pretty suspect a lot of the time – but individually, I can't recall doing any budgeting or personal money management classes in school. There was economics – but that seemed more related to macro economy issues and domestic things in the home- not really personal finance.
But why is this?
I've thought about it some and I'd like to give you some of the perceived reasons why I think it isn't a requirement in schools today. And, I'd love to hear your take on this too.
- Money is a personal issue. I think one of the biggest reasons is that (even today) money matters is still considered a personal matter. It's a bit like talking about politics or religion. The subject is taboo and off-limits.
- Personal finance education doesn't help. Education doesn't always correlate to better behavior. Sometimes it seems that money management is perceived as something you have or something you don't. And, while I do believe some of us are born with an innate ability to manage money better than others, it doesn't have to stay that way.
- Many administrators, school board members, teachers are bad with their own personal finances. I think some school leaders are struggling themselves to make ends meet, don't have a budget or have never really be taught to manage their own money. So they may find it hypocritical to be teaching others.
- The “System” is set up to create debtors not savers. According to a relative who has studied the education system – it was devised to make workers for the factories who would, in turn, buy gadgets and gizmos from that factory and ultimately become slaves to the factory. Why would this type of system want to empower its workforce to take control of its finances? People in debt are easier to control and are not really free.
- Schools believe parents are already doing it. If money matters is a personal topic, the schools believe this too ought to be covered at home.
- It's too complex and vast a topic. A class on personal finance would need to cover investing, income, banking, taxes and on and on. It may be too much for the schools to take on?
Whatever the real reason(s) may be – I think it's about time we start the discussion or implementation of personal finance education in schools.
I think the newly created CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) is doing right be taking the initiative in this area and is calling for education to start. Here's a white paper on their recommendation for K-12 finance education.
What are your thoughts?