If you browse personal finance forums or blogs, the following question appears often:
Why doesn’t the public school system teach personal finance?
For millennials, students are graduating college with more debt, can’t find jobs, and years later after learning personal finance, wish they could go back in time and make a different choice in life.
When s***t hits the fan, everyone looks for someone or something to blame and, in our case, public education gets the finger pointed at. It’s easier to blame the school system than to take full responsibility for your current financial woes.
Personally, I believe the public education system WILL NEVER and SHOULD NEVER teach personal finance in American schools.
Consumerism Drives the U.S. Economy
Let’s think outside the box for a minute.
Below are all too common personal finance statistics people succumb to today:
- The average college debt is roughly $37k and going up, taking college graduates, on average, a decade to pay off.
- Only 48% of Americans have emergency savings; if times get tough, they’ll have to borrow money.
- The average credit card debt is around $5,000 and rising every year.
- Only 41% of Americans follow a budget, meaning the majority of citizens overspend, and rarely consider saving or investing.
What would happen if you entered your 20s financial literate?
Most of these financial burdens on U.S. citizens would vanish eventually, but on the downside, the American economy would be in a dark place.
The current economy wants YOU to be financially illiterate (and no, this is not a conspiracy theory, just the honest truth).
Consumerism in every nation, not just the U.S, drives the economy at the expense of its citizens’ financial health.
This fact alone, leads me to believe, that there will never be an impactful financial education program placed in public schools, with an emphasis on impactful.
Reconstructing the Entire Public Education System
Like most large, complex entities, the public education system in the U.S has its flaws.
For one, teachers no longer can choose what they want to teach their students. Standardized testing has taken over as THE way to measure a school’s performance. Teachers attempt to teach students everything they need to know in order to pass standardized tests, but how much of this information will help them in real life once they graduate?
You are starting to see a few personal finance courses pop up here and there, but think about your days in school, especially high school? Do you remember anything of particular importance?
Personal finance courses have to be emphasized on par with mathematics, reading, and writing, all starting from a very young age.
Taking one course in high school doesn’t do anything for your financial success. Personal finance needs to be shoved down students’ throats from day one in order to have any financial impact in our youths’ young adult years.
And lastly, money influences everything. The amount of money needed to enforce an effective personal finance program in public schools will be astronomical. Taxes would rise, new teachers need to be trained, a full course would be created and implemented, schools would have to expand for more classrooms, etc.
The only reliable and logical solution starts with the parents.
Personal Finance Starts at Home
Public schools should never be the focal point for educating our youth on personal finance.
For one reason, it’s run by the government, and will never be optimal. Two, the biggest influence on an individual’s personal finance literacy always has and always will come from his/her parents.
The more parents save money, follow a budget, balance a checkbook, the higher the chance that their offspring end up doing the same thing and being financially responsible.
The same holds true for parents that are financially irresponsible. Regardless of high or low income, bad financial habits get passed on from generation to generation.
Take a quick look at the people you surround yourself with. Do they resemble the financial patterns of their parents? Probably so.
Do not think for one second that you cannot change your circumstances. Yes, you might have had parents that had no idea what they were doing with their money (this is more often than not), but YOU have the opportunity to be the personal finance savior for the future of your family.
If you’ve missed the last blog post on the effects of social media on your brain, click here. As always, don’t forget to like, comment, share, or subscribe!
“The strength of a nation derives from the integrity in the home.”
Book of the Month: “1984” by George Orwell