Does Financial Education
Belong in Schools?
Financial education - for everyone - has come to the forefront lately as highlighted in this January 2010 USA Today article. Financial literacy for kids and teens is especially in the spotlight. With that comes the question of whether schools should be the ones teaching the financial basics to kids and teens.
The most recent economic issues have highlighted the risky balance many families face. Some of those issues may have been due to lack of financial education and basic economic skills. Of course, there are many other factors - some controllable and some not. Still, the challenges in many families are highlighting gaps in what kids and teens know about money.
The question then is "Does teaching money skills belong in schools?"
In the past, money education and financial literacy was expected to be taught and learned at home. However, the personal finance landscape has changed dramatically in the past several years making it hard for even the most committed parent to stay up-to-date. Everyone has more responsibility for their own financial future as employers downsize, cut out pensions and 401(k) matches.
Teen money issues are no less complicated. There is an almost endless array of financial products for teens that may not even be old enough to vote. These range from savings accounts to prepaid credit cards to student loans all having different terms and seemingly a different language. It can be one confusing financial world no matter what your age.
In today's world of option after option, parents can struggle to wade through all the information plus their own money habits (good and bad) to try to figure out what their kids need to know. Having some help from the school system and organizations like the Jump$tart Coalition is a welcome relief. That applies to both teens and parents. Teens are getting the financial basics they need to make solid future decisions while parents have help with teaching money skills that everyone needs to know.
Many schools and government groups are starting to catch on to that too. Teaching kids about money and then moving on to teen money management can be a shared responsibility and opportunity.
All in all, it should be a win-win situation. What do you think about teaching money skills and improving financial education in schools? Weigh in on the poll below.
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