My wife and I were discussing this the other night and both of us thought it was ridiculous that they don’t teach a personal finance class in high school, at least not when we were in school. Is it any wonder that when kids go off to college they rack up so much debt? According to Nellie Mae, the nation’s largest maker of student loans, the average undergraduate has $2,200 in credit card debt! (bankrate.com)
There are a lot of classes that I took in high school that were certainly not beneficial to me in my adult life, but I can bet that a finance class that teaches fiscal responsibility and retirement planning would be a benefit to many of these young students. Instead of going off to college and binging on shoes, clothes, beer, cars, televisions, etc, maybe they would think twice before piling on the debt. I am guessing that most of these students graduating with a ton of credit card bills assume they will just pay off the bill when they get a job, but this is often not the case. I know it wasn’t for me. My parents tried to explain money to me, but I guess I was not listening as I racked up a ton of bills by the time I graduated college, and it took me years to pay it off..and this was on top of my student loans. I bought just about anything I wanted and I paid dearly for it. I had minimum payments of several hundred dollars a month for at least 4 years after I graduated, and this put my retirement and home savings on hold while I was trying to dig out of debt. This is certainly not the way one should walk out of college, already owing a ton of money.
A simple personal finance class with discussions on retirement, the negative impact debt can have on a person, automobile financing, and saving for the future instead of buying for the now should be implemented in every single high school across the country. Did I really need to learn trigonometry if I had no interest in any fields that would need it? I would think that learning how to control one’s money would be of more help to most people. Thoughts? Did you have finance classes in high school? If you did, did they help? I would love to hear about your experiences!