Throughout our adult lives, there are countless times where we catch ourselves saying, “I wish they taught me that in high school.” High school students spend their days learning about many important topics, but are schools providing them with the tools to be successful adults?
Financial literacy and learning about money is one topic often overshadowed within the high school curriculum. To make healthy financial decisions, students must learn these skills to set themselves up for their future.
Adults know the importance of budgeting and knowing where their money is going each month. The sooner individuals can understand and implement budgeting into their lives, the better they will be financially.
Students should be learning to budget their monthly expenses to figure out exactly how much of their income is going towards their needs and how much they should be saving.
Creating a habit of consistently budgeting would allow students to begin building their savings account or saving towards their college education and, ultimately, financial freedom.
It would be helpful if schools emphasized creating courses that teach budgeting and helping students build these skills at a young age.
Credit and Debt
There are countless stories of individuals not being financially adept in their late teens and early twenties and ending up digging themselves out of debt once they realize the hardship it is causing them.
It is essential students learn the ins and outs of debt, budgeting, saving, investing, and how it will affect their abilities to move forward in life.
The ability to build credit and avoid credit cards overspending can make the difference between being financially comfortable and being in a financial rut.
Schools need to teach students how to manage their credit cards, but they do not!
High schools often avoid this subject entirely, and individuals end up learning about debt the hard way. Students should learn how to be proactive but, instead, schools are creating reactive adults.
Similar to credit card debt, student loans can hinder an individual’s capability to become financially stable and independent.
Young adults are often not equipped with financial foresight. When eighteen-year-old college students receive a lump sum loan, they will usually spend most of it on wants and do not realize the financial burden they are placing on their future selves.
Teaching executive functioning skills alongside financial literacy can help students see and plan for their future selves.
It is essential that students get educated about the student loan process and do not need to accept the entirety of their financial aid reward.
Teaching students to keep their student loan debt to a minimum is a way to keep them from handicapping themselves financially in the years to come after college graduation.
Convincing students in high school that they need to learn about retirement is a difficult task for teachers to take on, but it is an important one.
Even if they do not plan on starting their retirement fund until they become fully employed, learning the basics is recommended.
Be an ExampleBe an Example
Although schools should provide students with this education through school, parents play a significant role in a student’s financial literacy journey.
Children watch and often repeat behaviors they see from their parents.
Parents should work to set a good financial example and explain to their children the reasons behind their financial decisions.
Sharing a budget and having conversations about money will only assist the student once they begin making their own choices regarding their finances.
Sitting down with a child and teaching them how you organize a budget can help prepare them when it comes time to create their budget.
Parents can teach organization strategies that work in hopes that the child can replicate them later in life.
It is essential to remember to consider that all kids learn differently and may require different strategies.
Please be patient and willing to try various methods other than your own. I always say students should adopt a technique that works for them to set them up for success.
Remember, baby steps, and do not make the mistake of starting this too late like so many of us do.
Give Them Opportunities to Handle Money
Children should be allowed to handle money at a young age. Parents can let their children pay for the groceries at the store or use their debit cards to pay for gas at the pump.
These are just a few of many examples that can teach the value of money to children.
The more exposure and chances they get to experience the learning, the more likely they will generalize it in the future.
Provide Opportunities for Kids to Earn and Spend Money
Not only should children get a chance to handle money, but parents could also allow them to earn and spend their own money.
We have developed a Financial Intelligence Workshop and list financial resources to help students not be afraid and avoid money issues. Please inquire withing for assistance.
Learning that money comes from work will build personal value. If children need to spend their own money to buy what they want, they will most likely be more aware or critical of their purchases.