It bothers me that schools don’t offer any *real* money/debt management classes (at least not in my daughters school). I can’t help but think that might help people also with staying out of debt. Everything from balancing your check book,the use of credit cards to what mutual funds are,Roth IRA’s,to how the stock market works. This was just a few subjects off the top of my head. I’m just now learning more about these things (I was taught how to balance my check book…thank god). Just my 2 cents here.
I teach a class at University of San Francisco called Quantitative Methods in Math. There are four “modules” to talk about different aspects of financial mathematics. When I get to interest calculations and so forth, I show them a spreadsheet of how long it would take to pay off a $5000 credit card with minimum payments and how much money they are ultimately paying. The best exercise was when I told them to find a credit deal and determine how long and how much they would have to pay if they maxed out the card and only made minimum payments. I know it opened some pairs of eyes when they realized that they’d still be paying from the grave.
I have always thought that this should be absolutely mandatory for graduation in our school systems. You should have to learn it, just like learning to read, write, and form a complete sentence.
You will deal with money and finances and contracts and paychecks and taxes and tipping your waiter the rest of your life. You should learn about credit, debt, financing, buying a car, renting an apartment, writing a check, fees associated with all of it, before you are thrust into the world after graduation with your first job/first apartment/college loans/etc.
It would stop a lot of problems before they start. I heard a short story in the news several months ago that it was going to be standard high school curriculum starting in 2009/2010 in some school districts.
I graduated from HS in 1980 and somewhere along the line we learned to balance a checkbook but that’s it. My sons graduated 6 and 5 years ago and they didn’t even learn that much. Dave Ramsey has a program that’s taught in many schools including one in our area. It’s called Financial Peace for the Next Generation. I wish all schools taught it!
I would be happy if they would teach reading, writing and arithmatic. Here all they worry about teaching is the standardized tests.