Why Isn’t Personal Finance Taught in Schools?

Chemistry, English, Math, Spanish, U.S. History… where’s the finance class?! I asked myself this question in high school, as I flipped through the course catalog, looking for some sort of Introduction to Business or Basic Finance class. Because I had never had the opportunity to take a business or finance class, I started out my first year of college as an “Undecided” major, only knowing that I was interested in business but unsure of what that entailed. I had to use my first year of college to navigate the business school with help from college counselors and professors, eventually choosing to major in Finance and minor in Accounting. Introductory courses in high school would have helped me tremendously in college preparedness and starting my educational life on the right path.

Only 17 states require high school students to take a course in personal finance. Data released from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Investor Education Foundation reveals that high school students who are required to take personal finance courses have better average credit scores and lower debt delinquency rates as young adults. The study found “notable improvements” in credit outcomes for 18-22 year olds in three states – Idaho, Georgia and Texas – where financial education mandates are considered rigorous by the Council for Economic Education.

Personal Finance in Schools

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Teaching high school students some basic information about student loans and credit cards would set them up for success for their entire lives. When they first step foot on a college campus they would be better prepared to understand what they’re signing before being attracted to credit card vendors on campus enticing them with a free t-shirt. A lot of parents don’t teach their children the basics because they may not understand it themselves. Public high schools in every state should be required to offer a personal finance course for those interested. It can save students from making financial mistakes early on that put them behind for years to come. Basic material covered should include:

  • Student loans
  • Credit cards
  • Car loans
  • Savings accounts
  • Investing
  • Mortgages

Wait…this sounds fun! Can I teach it?

Why do you think more schools don’t offer business classes? Did your high school offer a finance class? Let me know in the comments below.

 

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