Lately I’ve been reading a lot about personal finance articles on Yahoo! Finance and MSN Money – stuff by Suze Orman, David Bach, Liz Pulliam Weston, people like that – and I kept thinking the same thing after reading each of the articles: this stuff is actually pretty simple.
Despite the relative simplicity of personal finances, I also kept coming across the same problem: why are people left to find out and read about this stuff on their own, and why isn’t personal finance taught to us as we go through school?
Think about it, what are the some of the pillars of personal finance?Â Â The earlier you start investing the better, spend within your means, pay down high interest debt as soon as possible, have an emergency fund, know the difference between a need and a want, etc.Â The list could probably go on for three or four pages, but you probably get the point.
None of these concepts seem that difficult to grasp and, if presented in the right way, could probably be understood by, at the very least, middle school aged kids.
As a parent, what would you find to be more impressive; your kid telling you what an amoeba is or how to balance a checkbook?Â What the derivative of 2X is, or how compounding interest works?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to undermine the importance of the stuff that we actually do learn in school, I certainly thinkÂ it’s important for kids to be well rounded and learn about all sorts of things.Â Â However, I think it’s pretty easy to make the argument thatÂ personal finance is far too important toÂ be ignored.Â Â
It seems to me that if some emphasis was placed on personal finance while kids/teenagers are young enough to have not made dumb financial decisions, a lot more people would be better off financially than what they are today.Â Credit card debt would be lower, defaults on car and home loans would be lower and, most importantly, many more people would have financial peace of mind.