If schools are meant to educate, then isn’t it quite ironic that the things that are essential to surviving life — getting over that first heartbreak, developing self confidence, or managing stress at work — are not given the appropriate required curriculum?
Among this list of survival needs is the subject on handling personal finances. Students struggle school year after school year to learn complicated stuff like differential calculus equations and the theory of space-time continuum whatsoever yet after graduation, many end up struggling to pay their loans. Why? Because they had no idea on student loans until they got to that decision and it was already too late. There wasn’t a strong financial foundation to begin with.
So the question to answer is: why bother teaching finance basics in school?
First and foremost, financial education is relevant at any point in our lives. Whether you are a kid wanting to save up for that gadget, a college student struggling to pay tuition, or a family man preparing for retirement, you will need to face a financial decision sooner or later. Teaching finance basics in a well-tailored curriculum will guide students early on to make better financial decisions that, somewhat in contrary to space-time continuum, they can actually apply to real, daily life. Of course, there is nothing against calculus or space-time continuum per se (they can help us save the world). But, if those subjects are that important to be taught in school, how much more is financial education?
Holistic personal development
As one puts financial knowledge into actions, he develops soft skills that are essential to a well-rounded personal development. For example, when you apply the concept of money cost averaging, it would take you a great deal of discipline to set aside regularly a portion of your income for investment. At the end of the day, you not only get the bucks but the discipline that goes with it. Other soft skills such as research from reliable sources, critical thinking, and patience will come in handy in all other non-financial aspects of life.
Financially literate consumers contribute to a healthy economy as a whole. According to APEC’s Guidebook on Financial and Economic Literacy, “the economic and financial literacy that a person acquires early in their life could have a large impact on their behavior and performance regarding economic activities” and that “the economic decisions that citizens make will in varying degree impact on the economic performance of institutions, a sector and the economy in its entirety.” Through financial literacy, we see hope for an end to poverty and a better state of living.
While financial education is a lifetime commitment and not a one-time course, there is no better time to start than to start young. Wouldn’t it be great to hear your 12 year old kid one day say, “Dad, I’ll open a bank account because our finance class project is to regularly save $5 a month until the end of the school year.”