10 Personal Money Management Concepts High Schools Should Teach
Personal money management topics are highly neglected in the school system and I believe this is something we all should be very concerned about. Our children grow up with virtually no concept of personal money management, the importance of money, or what to do with it when they have it.
It’s a mistake to rely only on parents to teach their children these things because many parents don’t practice good personal money management themselves. It’s a vicious cycle and it needs to be broken.
We all benefit from learning about the basic concepts of personal money management from an early age. Of course, it’s never too late, but money education should begin in the early grades and progress throughout high school. It’s the only way to prepare these kids for college and the real world.
Here are the 10 core personal money management concepts high schools should be teaching:
Every graduating high school student should understand budgeting and know how to apply it effectively to their personal finances. Sure, they don’t have many resources to manage at this stage in their lives, but they still need to be able to budget. They will need it sooner rather than later, so it’s important to introduce them not only to the concept, but also to the available budgeting tools.
- Loans & Borrowing
Loans and borrowing are another important core concept that students need to understand. After all, they’ll be exposed to student loans very soon and they need to understand interest rates as well as the repercussions of not paying their loans on time. Providing the knowledge of loans and borrowing now will allow them to make good choices in the future. Applying for a mortgage when buying their first home can really be a big eye-opener.
- Use of Credit Cards
Most adults don’t understand how to properly use credit cards, so why do high schools assume that it’s not essential to teach children about it? Buying things now and paying for them later may seem simple enough, but when you max out your card and you don’t have the money to pay, you get yourself into a vicious cycle. This can be avoided if kids are taught proper credit card use from an early age!
- Good Credit Score
This is another very important personal money management concept everyone should learn from an early age. Having a good credit score and maintaining it throughout your life will have a positive effect on many aspects. It determines the credit cards and loans you’ll be able to obtain, your interest rate, and it will even improve your chances of getting a job.
- Interest Rates
Interest is discussed very vaguely in most math courses, but it’s never explained in a way that’s applicable to real life. Students need to be taught how interest rates can affect them and how to navigate them. Especially when it comes to loans and borrowing, because interest rates will determine if they’re getting a good deal or not.
No one wants to be in debt, which is why it’s so important our children are taught how to avoid it, if possible. College tuition is high and student loans are increasing, so it’s very easy for students to accumulate high debt that will take them many years, or even a lifetime, to pay up. Having a better understanding of debt will allow students to avoid the most common traps and steer away from it or at least handle it intelligently.
Insurance is rarely discussed in high school and never expanded upon, but it’s a very important concept because we absolutely need it. Most students are vaguely aware they need auto insurance for their car, but they may not understand what it covers, what the benefits are, and why all states require it. Most adults don’t fully understand the concept of insurance either, so it’s important for students to be exposed to the subject. Understanding the types of insurance policies available, why they’re necessary, and how they work is key to purchasing the right ones and staying safe.
- Saving for Retirement
Young people don’t think seriously about retirement simply because it’s too far away. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that saving for retirement is an important concept to understand as soon as possible. Setting aside a small amount of money every month for retirement will allow young people to create a sizable net to fall on when the time comes. The sooner you start, the earlier you’ll be able to retire. Imagine that!
- Stocks, Bonds and Investment
Saving money and managing it is important, but so is investing it intelligently and securely. That’s why it’s so important children understand stocks, bonds and investment from an early age. The topic of investment is covered to some degree in school, but I believe it should be an important part of the curriculum. Learning how to make money grow through investment is not simple; the more resources our children have, the better decisions they’ll be able to make in the future.
Last but certainly not least, is the concept of taxes, which has a huge impact on our lives. Children hear about taxes from adults, but not enough to fully understand why they exist, how they should be assessed or how to use them. It’s when they get their first paycheck and see social security, Medicare, federal, state, and local taxes deducted from their earnings, does it hit them. That’s wrong! They should know much sooner. Understanding taxes allows us to manage and budget our money more effectively, which is why it’s so important we give our children this knowledge.
I don’t deny the fact that some states have introduced courses about personal money management to some degree. What I believe is, there’s a greater effort that needs to be made. Every state should be required to introduce courses about these core concepts we’ve discussed today and have it be a part of the curriculum. Learning about personal money management truly makes a difference, so why not give our children the best possible chance for a sound and secure future?