When you were in high school, you undoubtedly took writing classes or classes that taught you about American history. Some of you may have even taken a class that taught you how to cook. But, I am guessing not many of you took a class that taught you about personal finance and how to manage your money properly.
One of the biggest aspects that is missing from public education is the ability to become financially literate. This is also beginning to have severe effects on us as a country. The average American household has over $15,000 worth of credit card debt. This could be much less if we were taught money management from an early age.
When I was in elementary school, my first real memory of money was that every week a local neighborhood bank would come and set up a makeshift bank in the schools library. Not only would we have the opportunity to deposit our money, but we would also get the chance to act as tellers. This allowed us to learn about the benefits of saving money first hand, as well as what takes place on the other side of the teller’s window.
After that, my run-ins with personal finance were pretty much nonexistent outside of reading my Dad’s Wall Street Journal every morning. If it weren’t for the fact that I was an economics major and took quite a few finance classes, I wouldn’t have had any knowledge of finance topics. As far as I am concerned, this is a major issue for the future. Without adding personal finance oriented classes to high school curriculum and making it a prerequisite in college, we are sending 20-somethings out into the real world unprepared.
By educating our future generations we will hopefully be able to arm them with the tools to change the course of rising debt, and who knows we might even prevent the next financial crisis.
What is your first memory of money when you were a child?
I want to thank my friend Shannon because in honor of April being National Literacy Month she has put together The Financial Literacy Awareness Carnival. You can check out the rest of the articles included by visiting The Heavy Purse.