Why will parents talk to their children about sex, but not about money?
Once upon a time when I was a young lad, my mom sat me down to have The Talk; you know, the one about sex. Arrrrgh! As soon as I realized where the conversation was heading (“When a mom and a dad love each other…”), I immediately cut it off:
Mom, I learned all about this from the kids on the playground. I know how to be responsible and promise that I will be. Can I go back outside now?
That was the end of that.
The one conversation we never, ever had was about money. A couple times, I asked my mom how much they made and how much certain bills were. Those questions were always quickly shot down:
You do not need to know!!
You would have thought I was asking about their sex life! Ewwww.
Is SEX really easier to talk about than MONEY!?!
I didn’t have my parents to rely on for financial education, but I also couldn’t rely on my schooling.
Where are the schools?
Through the 12th grade, the only financial education that I had was a consumer education class in high school that lasted for one semester. We learned about keeping money in the bank instead of under your mattress and how to buy fruit at the grocery store. While this was useful information, it should have just been the starting point. We never learned about delaying gratification or compound interest. We never learned about saving for retirement. We didn’t even learn about basic things that everyone needs to know like mortgages or credit scores.
Mrs. 1500 learned how to write a check in her consumer education class. But the only thing they really talked about were the sections of the check that needed to be filled out. They didn’t cover anything like having enough money in the bank so the check didn’t bounce.
Sadly, it seems that things haven’t changed much. In my little informal survey of younger family members, there is still very little financial education. Students who take business classes do learn more, but I think it’s silly to have to take an optional class to learn about things that everyone needs to know.
In an ideal world, I think that parents should be our examples and teachers. However, in most cases, this just doesn’t work:
First, many parents are extremely secretive about money. I don’t think my family’s money secrecy was the exception. I suspect most families are like mine. Why? See the next part.
Second, many parents just aren’t good examples. People living the frugal lifestyle are the exception, not the majority. I look around and see big spenders everywhere. Some of my friends are children of big spenders and I see them trying to imitate how they remember their parents, sometimes with disastrous consequences.
Third, a lot of people just don’t understand financial concepts. I don’t think that either of my parents could explain what compound interest is or a mortgage amortization schedule. Even if parents do understand, are they willing to talk about this with their children?
If your parents don’t teach you, formal education may be the only chance you have. However, not everyone agrees.
Is teaching financial education controversial?
If there was any topic that we could all agree on, I would think it would be the need to have more financial education. I couldn’t be more wrong. I get into more arguments about this than just about any other financial subject. To illustrate the point, have a look at some dialog I had recently while commenting on a Mr. Money Mustache post.
First, I posted a comment where I stated that we need better financial education:
The trouble started with Debbie M:
Debbie, I think you have the wrong idea
Debbie argues that she learned about math, reading and the stock market crash in high school and implies that was enough. I couldn’t disagree more. Those are all building blocks, but children need to know why they shouldn’t get into $10K in credit card debt during college. Children need direct examples of how to make decisions surrounding money. Just because you have ‘all the tools’ doesn’t mean you can fix the car.
She also states that frugal choices aren’t marketed. True, but they never will be. No-one is going to go on TV and tell you not to spend your money on their product.
Next to the chime in was Karl:
I disagree with Karl too. I don’t think that people under 25 are too young to learn. Some may not act on the information, but I suspect it would make a difference in others. We have to try. The class that shaped me was one I attended at the age of 20. Guess what, I think about that class all the time. It changed my life.
Next, Debbie chipped in again:
Wow, really grabbing at straws here Debbie. By your logic, why bother teaching anything?
However, my favorite response was the last one from Chen:
Here we are talking about sex again (should this blog be rated NC-17?). Chen draws a connection to sex education. I’m not sure I have any idea what the heck he is talking about, but I think he actually lays out a good case for financial education. He mentions instant gratification and I agree with his point, but a financial education class could teach why delaying gratification is rewarding.
He also mentions how he himself had a little indirect financial education in math class and still remembers it. What a great example of how high school financial education did some good, even if it wasn’t the intention.
To see the comments yourself, check out the comments in MMM’s post on pensions.
Dare to Dream
I hope education is better by the time my children start formal school. Even if it’s not, I am going to strive to be a positive example every single day. I will openly discuss any and all financial matters with them. I will not hide our income and bills. I will let them help with our financial planning. I really can’t wait. The Sex Talk though, not so excited about that…
What financial concepts would you like to see taught in school, and what age would you want your children to start to learn these things? How do you approach money matters with your children or young relatives?
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That is awesome! Keep it up and you’ll be raising one wise child!
Jen @ Jen Spends says
The only financial advice I got at home was bad advice, unfortunately. My mom had, and still has, zero involvement with finances, other than spending the money. My dad seems to kind of fly by the seat of his pants and do whatever he needs to in order to accomplish something specific, but has no long-term strategy. Love them, but I take anything money-related they tell me with a grain of salt now.
I, too, have encountered resistance when I’ve talked about the need for financial education in school. I have some friends who think it’s a waste of time because they think it doesn’t apply to them, or they already learned everything they need to know at home. Well, not everyone is like that. Not everyone automatically connects the dots between math class and business class (where we played a stock market game). I am an intelligent person, but I headed off to college without a clue about how badly credit cards could wreck my credit, or how much of an impact the interest rate has when trying to pay them off. I learned the hard way, and it boggles my mind that I didn’t learn it in school. But, then again, considering how school districts and other government entities manage money, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.
It astounds me that anyone would argue with the need to teach financial literacy. I wonder if its because people take offense to receiving advice that may contradict their money habits? No-one wants to be told that they’re doing the wrong thing.
I too went to college and, ‘Hey look! A free t-shirt if I sign up for that card!’ I had about 10K in debt when I got out. Again, I just didn’t know any better.
My concern about schools bearing the burden of financial education is that it’s illogical to assume teachers are personal finance experts. Where I used to teach, teachers have an amazing pension plan, pretty much guaranteed job security, excellent salaries, generous benefits plans, etc, etc. But talk to them about retirement savings, taxes, avoiding debt, investing and living a frugal lifestyle? Many of them don’t know any more than the parents whose kids they are teaching. In fact, many parents see teachers are being out of touch with the financial challenges most people face.
I would like to see PF experts brought in to teach these subjects in schools. People keeping saying “just because you understand math, doesn’t mean you get personal finance.” Guess what? The same principle applies to teachers. If you really want kids to learn personal finance, you have to start with the people who are educating them — including parents and teaches.
Agreed, we need the right people to do the teaching.
Just this morning, I learned about Junior Achievement. Have you heard of it? It seems like a good organization. More research needed…
When I was in grade 7 or 8, someone from JA came in to teach us about investing. It was a great learning experience and a chance for us understand the stock market. (My stock picks didn’t do very well though!)
Friends of mine have also volunteered as mentors with the program helping high school students develop and sell their own products. They really enjoyed it, and it’s a great way to share their expertise and make a difference in the lives of youngsters.
Great! I’m going to reach out to them to learn more.
Alasdair Shepherd says
Do you not have standardised curricula in the US? Suggested lesson plans? Do you just allow teachers to make up their subject matter? However the teachers manage their own finances, they’ll teach what they’re told to teach, not lead by example. You don’t need to be Einstein to teach physics, and you don’t need to be Buffet to teach finance.
In fact, bringing in experts to teach the classes sounds like a terrible idea (with the exception of the Oracle of Omaha himself. Now that would be something). Being good at a subject, and being good at teaching a subject are two entirely different things. And one would hope that personal finance teachers would be trained as personal finance teachers. Not just maths teachers who used to have a free period.
Having good teachers is very important, but I doubt we’ll ever see passionate, memorable teachers in every classroom, teaching every subject in every school. That’s no reason to give up on formal education.
Some kids’ll get it, many won’t, but at least we’ll have tried, and at least some won’t be doomed to repeat the mistakes of their parents.
THIS X 1000
Johnny Moneyseed says
I think the point isn’t that kids will “get it” when they’re in school, but they’ll be provided with a base. I had no knowledge of finances when I was a kid, and just like you, my parents always told me to mind my own business when I’d ask a question about money. Transparency needs to exist between parents and their children. 1 to keep the parents from doing something stupid and 2 to educate kids about money. Your personality and habits are developed at a young age, why not exploit that in a positive way? Unless they really just don’t want us to save our money?? But I guess that’s a separate conversation altogether.
Johnny Moneyseed says
On a side note, that’s the first post that MMM commented back directly to me. I felt like a celebrity was talking to me on Twitter. Now, I realize I was pretty ridiculous thinking that lol. Whatever, don’t judge me! 🙂
Ha, MMM is a celebrity! It will be interesting to see how your meetup in Ecuador goes.
Yeah, exactly! Sometimes we learn things that go in one ear and out the other. Other times though, it sticks with us for a lifetime. No chance for the latter if we don’t bother to teach it as well.
There is a complete lack of financial education in this country. Historically speaking this wasn’t as much of an issue because instant gratification and the overt commercialization of everything didn’t exist. I mean, a couple hundred years ago you might what, blow your money on a new wagon? Today, with easy access to credit, people have no base in which make the right decision, or understand fully the consequences of not making the right decision.
She also states that frugal choices are aren’t marketed. True, but they never will be. No-one is going to go on TV and tell you not to spend your money.
I believe that no matter how much you educate, unless our culture changes, not much will change. We are, at our core as a country, an entitled, self-serving, instantly gratified group. The recession hit? The savings needle moved a few percentage points. That’s it. Now people are back to spending. No lasting change, and sadly, education isn’t the only reason.
Wow, that is is a great point about it not being an issue in the past! I’m picturing in my head some guy named Jebidiah being jealous of the neighbors new prairie schooner. I even think back 30 years ago. We lived in a 1200 square foot house and that was OK. Rampant consumerism seems to be a really recent development.
You’re right, society is what it is. Most people aren’t going to sell their BMWs and jump on their bikes. I don’t think we can change most people, but I think we can change some.
I agree with you – I grew up in a house where money wasn’t transparent. I think they tried and I did get “the Richest Man in Babylon” from my dad for HS graduation. That being said I didn’t know anything about how much money they made or how much their mortgage was or anything. It was all secret and I think they were concerned that a teenager wouldn’t keep that information private since they were making what seemed like a lot of money. They didn’t struggle with money and are pretty good with it – I’m not worried about them running out of money in retirement and neither are they. I intend to be more transparent with my kids and involve them in our budgeting and bill paying strategies as they get older.
Already, I try to do this with my kids. My 6 year old wanted a magazine at the store (one direction was on the cover) and I asked her if she wanted to use her own money on it. I told her it was $4 and that I would expect her to give me the money when we got home. She hemmed and hawed about it for a minute but didn’t end up buying it. She did choose to buy a yearbook $11 a few weeks ago with her own money. (she had received a little cash in the mail from the grandparents for valentines). I feel like I’m talking to them about money and that we parents have to make choices with our money and how to spend it. It’ll be interesting to if they feel better equipped than I did.
Its difficult when you have no point of reference. For example, when I was a kid, I would look at the car ads in the newspaper and wonder what types of jobs you had to have to buy these vehicles.
Transparency is a great thing when the kids are old enough to handle it. I can’t wait to show my children our bills!
JC @ Passive-Income-Pursuit says
I don’t see why teaching the basics of personal finance would be a bad thing. I wouldn’t expect every student to pick up on every concept and take off with it, but at least being exposed to it could help. There’s not a whole lot I remember from a lot of my classes from high school, but random little things do find their way being committed to memory.
I had a little bit of financial education through school and pretty much nothing at home. In school we did the stock market game, learned about the rule of 72, the magical doubling penny…but nothing that was truly practical in real life such as mortgages, credit cards… In my senior year we had to take an economics class and I think this would be a great place to cover many more of the concepts. We mainly dealt with macro issues and supply/demand and while it’s great to know that it’s not really all that useful in your day to day life. I’ve thought about trying to get into teaching after I reach FI and need to look more into it to see if more schooling would be required. The issue I think is how much leeway there is in the curriculum, because some schools/districts won’t allow for any straying which would require the whole curriculum to be changed. Although I do agree that you can’t just take any economics teacher and have them teach personal finance, it just won’t work.
According to Debbie we pretty much shouldn’t even have school besides just math/science/reading. Of course it’s not like I ever find myself in a situation and think back to some book that I read in high school to see how it relates to me. So maybe we can do away with that as well.
You had way more in your schooling than me. We weren’t required to take any sort of economics class.
The magic penny thing is a great example of something that should be taught. Its soooo cool, how could that not stick in your head?
Girl Meets Debt says
What a great post! I definitely think the basics of finance should be taught in high school especially the dangers of student loans to kids who are going to college. Credit card debt is another important one too. I’m going to have finance discussions with my kids when I become a parent. Hopefully it will be easier than the sex talk 😉
I can’t imagine that it would be harder to talk about money than sex. Well, maybe if you’re really bad with money and are embarrassed it would be difficult, but they the problem is yours and you need to get your stuff together.
John S @ Frugal Rules says
“Those are all building blocks, but children need to know why they shouldn’t get into $10K in credit card debt during college. Children need direct examples of how to make decisions surrounding money. Just because you have ‘all the tools’ doesn’t mean you can fix the car.” I could not agree more! I LOVE this post. I think many basics need to be taught in school, but the ultimate authority needs to come from the home. I was in a similar family and my parents never breathed a word about money, other than to say that there’s no need to budget.
Teaching your kids the ins and outs of money and managing it wisely…giving them practical, day to day opportunities is one of the most loving things you can do as a parent in my opinion. It has to start somewhere and why not in the home? We started with our oldest when she turned three and have done the same with our three year old son. It’s very basic, but they understand more than so many adults do out there today. It brings great pride, but sadness at the same time…which just encourages us on to push on more.
“I think many basics need to be taught in school, but the ultimate authority needs to come from the home.”
YES! I taught a couple of classes to high school sophomores about student loans — everything from interest to time paying it off to how even earning a couple of thousand towards their education could make a big difference. The responses ranged from “Who cares? My parents pay for everything” to “Student debt is inevitable. Why bother saving now?”
You can teach the concepts in school, but it is much much harder to teach the values.
Elizabeth, arrgh! Your story makes me want to yank my hair out and run screaming for the hills. Thanks for providing some real life perspective. It is NOT an easy problem.
Don’t be discouraged 🙂 When it comes to teaching, the ones who take lessons to heart aren’t usually the ones complaining loudly about the assignment.
Students are influenced by their parents, teachers, friends, their church (if they have one), the media and other role models in their lives. , IMHO, school is just one part of a bigger puzzle — it’s not the only place to tackle the problem.
Thanks Elizabeth, nice to hear your views!
I just read about an organization called Junior Achievement (ja.org) that seems to have the right idea. I’m going to give these people a call this week.
John, thanks for you kind comments! From reading your blog, you and I are on the same wavelength.
Any chance you’re going to FinCon? It would be awesome to chat in person.
John S @ Frugal Rules says
Not a problem sir! Yep, both my wife and I will be going to FinCon. We bought them the first day to take advantage of the sale. We’re in Omaha, so it’s only about a 5-6 hour drive for us. Looking forward to speaking with you there!
Wooo, Omaha, home of the Oracle! Have you ever bumped into him?
John S @ Frugal Rules says
Only at the convention from maybe 50 to 100 feet away.
My parents (and grandparents) taught me a lot about finances as I grew up. Most of it was simple concepts like budgeting the money I made and how I should save and spend it. When I got to be in high school I got really interested in investing so my grandfather and my dad both explained how they did it. I then started putting some of my money into mutual fund investments that I helped pick out with my dad. Even though he invested in many individual stocks he didn’t think it was right for a minor to do that. The education served me well and I would like to see schools teach this, but at the same time I feel like the information would fall on deaf ears.
That is awesome that you had such great role models!
School wouldn’t get through to everyone, but it would get through to some.
I think it has to be taught in an interesting way. People think this stuff is boring.
Actually, I can draw a parallel to my career. I’m a software developer and I’ve had people say in a derogatory voice, “You’re a computer nerd.” Then, I tell them about all of the cool things I’ve been able to do and places I’ve been able to visit as a result of my work. They change their tune then.
So, teach personal finance and show the cool outcomes of being smart with money.
Perry, are things the same way in the UK? I’d like to hear what goes on in other parts of the world.
Wow, I’m glad to see that the UK has the right idea. It will be interesting to come back in 10 or 20 years and see how well it is working.
Yeah, I think its hilarious that parents will talk about sex, but not about money. I was telling my 6 year old tonight about my 401k and how much houses cost. I hope she is triple her current age before I have to talk about sex! 🙂
Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle says
When one of my sons was five or so he wanted something at Walmart. I said that I didn’t have any money and he told me to just get some from the machine. He often accompanied me to the bank and was under the impression that if you wanted cash you just went to the machine and cash popped out.
That was a good money lesson for me.
I had a similar experience. My older daughter told me to ‘just use the plastic card.’
So true about those two topics being the great taboos of childhood. I guess money perhaps still is, more so than sex. Great post.
My family history is very similar. It is refreshing to see that many people are seeking to help the next generation actually control their spending habits and incomes. I have some terrific examples of poor financial management and once I get my blog up and running I will share many of them. Two stand out in my mind as examples of how poor in general the developed world is at financial education, both family and formal. I, as a 15 yr old boy, advised my parents on their first mortgage. They had had the financial adviser round to talk over different mortgage products, interest rates, banks but none of it made sense to them. I had to talk it over with them, explaining each of the products, what they meant to them in terms of payments, mortgage terms, fees etc, they were completely blind to most of the concepts but I explained them in a manner they could understand. My educational experience was so poor at home I actually ended up teaching my parents! I also was the families informal loan shark, from the age of 12….yes 12! I loaned money to my parents, siblings, friends…my only mistake was not charging interest. I was very frugal and saved all of my money from a paper round that I completed weekly. I was able to save up over 700 pounds for an annual trip to the US from N.Ireland. People had no issues spending beyond their means and having to lend money even from a 12 yr old. This was my family experience.
Now for the formal one….I received zero financial education in school (in N.Ireland as part of the UK curriculum). The main example I remember of this was and how damaging it could be was during Uni. I held down a part time job during uni and it is from the job that my main example comes from. FYI I also took out my full student loan and lived at home. I saved all the loan money in an account (the loan accrued zero interest during studies and earned my 5% in a tax free ISA). I amassed quite a fortune with very low living expenses. However onto the one shining example of the poor education others were receiving. I worked for a bank in a call centre handling bank accounts and customer queries. This one girl phoned me in flood of tears, she couldn’t understand why the bank was charging her hundreds of pounds per month in overdraft fees and paid item fees. The young girl just ‘could not understand why this was happening and was working three jobs’ to be able to afford what seemed like a reasonable lifestyle. She had cried to daddy and eventually handed the phone over to him so he could vent his fury at the bank (me) that was forcing his young daughter to work three jobs to pay for the banks profits. I let him blast me for a few minutes, interrupting him would have only antagonised him and made the situation worse. We had a discussion about the type of bank account his daughter had and that it had no overdraft and also the general terms and conditions it had with it. We spoke in general terms about how this account is designed to be managed. I then proceeded (with that understood) to discuss every single transaction in his daughters account for three months (when things started to go wrong). I explained to him a very simple concept to which he completely agreed with. ‘At all times it is the responsibility of the person spending the money, not the person/vendor/company/bank taking the money, to ensure sufficient funds are available’. I then went about explaining to him exactly what his daughter had been doing, she had been getting her weekly pay cheque and withdrawing it entirely in cash…..nothing strange here. However, the young girl at some point had worked out that for small transactions under ten pounds her debit card would still work. I explained to him that most retailers had a ‘floor limit’, they’re not obliged to have immediate payment authorisation below this and therefore banks must honour transactions that have been approved……note: person buying is responsible to ensure funds are available. Here’s the catch, this escalated into 8-10 transactions every single week (after the balance had been practically zero’d), she was living on borrowed money and time. The fees incurred by doing this were around 30 pounds per transaction, they’re a harsh penalty designed to stop people spending beyond their agreed balance. At 8-10 a week this can very very quickly become unsustainable. They were also charged for the month at the end of the following month, from memory this would have been something like all charges for 1-31 March would be debited on 30 April. The dad was still angry with me as he couldn’t understand why the bank would allow this to happen to which I explained it is all clearly identified in the terms and conditions and at any point his daughter knew that she was spending money she did not have (she would always withdraw all of her money, which was variable, then spend on the card). Not once had she chosen to contact the bank. Anyway, this all boils down to one statement at the end of the conversation, the father had not educated his daughter because she had had a ‘life skills’ classes at school. I had had the same class three years before, she was 18, I was 18. It was a pathetic sex-ed/how to grocery shop hybrid class (complete waste of time). It never taught a dime of financial management and was too late for the birds and bees but it was sold to parents as a replacement of their responsibility that the school would broach those embarrassing subjects to leave home for family time. The father was well aware of everything I had spoke to him about but had never had the discussions to teach his daughter. He asked how I had become so well educated and assumed I was in my late 20’s early 30’s and my kids must be financial whizz kids already by now (I had to make him aware that I was 18, same age as his daughter). I said my own personal interest had led to my well rounded knowledge. He said I was ‘lucky’ to have personal finance as an interest. I removed many of the charges and cancelled the cards/facilities on the account and transitioned it to a savings account. Cash/payments in, cash out only…no card payments option. The father promised to sit his daughter down and explain budgets/income/expenses etc.
The one thing I learned from this is parents cannot/will not/do not educate their kids and are only to willing to let the schools do it for them. The schools approached it just like everything else….paper,pens, dodgy lessons and terrible teachers. I had hundreds (probably thousands) of people ring me that had no basic financial education and could not even understand basic budgeting, ie what goes in must equal what goes out or you’re going backwards= debt. Financial education that is broad, creative and visual is needed for kids to stop this happening over and over again. Let them know and understand. One thing this young girl taught me was to stop making excuses for the things I was not taught and learn them. Learn them and use it to my advantage because every one was in the same boat and for those who know money and how to make it work for you the rewards are infinite…or should I say compounded.
Everyone should be ‘lucky’, they should get taught PF and be examined/questioned/quizzed on it to check understanding and if they choose not to follow it then no excuses.
By the way, great blog and great thoughts….I am just beginning my journey but seeing people like yourself only inspire me further.
Wow, very interesting to hear the view from someone who was down in the trenches. You have a good head on your shoulders.
I’d like to know what factors you think shaped you? You didn’t have too role models and your education was lacking, but you sound like you’re doing everything right.
Thanks for the thoughtful and detailed reply. Do let me know when your blog is up and running!
Yeah, it certainly was interesting and it really gave me some fantastic ‘anti-models’. People that I knew I wanted to be nothing like. I never really had any role models whatsoever, I taught myself most of what I know and that has led me to some great mentors but no one kick started my passion. I had little snipets of information here and there, like my old neighbour explaining to me that he wished his son could grasp and love delayed gratification as much as I did (I had to get to him to explain delayed gratification). I just had a thirst for financial knowledge that is yet to be quenched.
My passion is money, it has always been my hobby and it grabbed me very young. From an early age I was always interested in money. From a very very early age I realised one fundamental concept, once it is spent you cannot un-spend your money. It is gone, gone forever but I also very quickly seen and understood that money could earn you money. I seen that many things in left, when purchased, were simply that…..a purchase, possession, thing, belonging. That had no income potential or expense reduction potential. and taught myself about the other side of the coin…about income producing assets…I looked at the world around me and I saw things in two categories, things and things that could make money. From about fifteen I was mad for property, I was determined to buy a property and renovate it but this never happened. I think with enough drive I could have done it but I needed support. Financial support and mentorship would have made me someone different.
From here I made some serious errors and got lost on my journey, I found alcohol, girls, gambling and fun all too much of an attraction and it took a while to get back on track. I still managed to save a fortune during these fun years through high school and uni but I am left with a debt. Not actual financial debt (although I do have those) but a debt of where I should be in life. Should I have taken the ‘red pill’ instead of the blue and carried on with my journey the ending would be a lot different.
I will write my blog over the coming weeks. Much has changed in my life, I am now 25, married and have finished my formal education for now. I wouldn’t change anything that has happened in life to date and wouldn’t wish for a different pathway. I have a great life, an amazing wife and have a world of opportunity around me. I don’t drink any more and don’t gamble. I have much more motivation and focus to achieve the goals I have the capability to smash.
I have a net worth of around $100,000 and earn a six figure salary….I will do the exact math for the blog….I have an idea upstairs and a rough idea from my five year plan but I will use the blog to motivate myself to be more direct and targeted.
I look forward to the journey ahead and find people like you an inspiration and like minded thinker. I will continue to follow the 1500’s and will link you to my blog when I get it rolling….my fingers are itching to start on it but reading all the FI blogs I have discovered is wayyy too addictive for now.
Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life says
Wow! I’m shocked people would object to financial education in the school system, especially considering how many folks have massive debt. I personally learned NOTHING in my 12 years of the public school system about financial planning, budgeting, or wealth management but I think they’re paramount life skills and I’m glad I realized that early on so I could capitalize on my youth in investing.
Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted…“Oh Shit, Yeah That Thing” Budgeting
Myles Money says
Brilliant. What a great read!
For me the most important attention-grabber would be compound interest: have kids plot a graph of money increasing in their bank account as interest is paid and compounded over time so they become mini-millionaires in the space of a few minutes… at least in their own heads. Then switch the tables and convert the savings to debt and ask them how long they think it will take to pay off a million as the debt continues to compound.
Sometimes harsh lessons are the best at driving the message home.
BTW, love your dinosaurs…
Myles Money recently posted…RealVision – The Financial Revolution Will Be Televised
Bill Dwight says
+1 for kids getting financial education from both sides: parents and schools. Repetition is good!
Weird the twisted logic some folks come up with for somehow deciding that investing in financial education isn’t worth it. Some of it seems tantamount to something like: “if it can’t help 100% of the people 100% of the time, why other?” Uh, ok.
On the parents front, I think one huge additional reason parents struggle to get it done aside from the three you listed is: young parents are insanely busy. It’s just really hard for most folks to follow through consistently when they’re getting crushed between work and family obligations. And, unfortunately, that period often coincides with the formative ages of their children. That’s why I think parents can benefit from simple automated systems that help the parents deliver consistent messages to there kids with minimal effort. We’re finally seeing more of those online/mobile systems being created. I keep a list here: http://list.ly/list/oD-online-piggy-banks-allowance-slash-chore-trackers-virtual-family-banks
Bill Dwight recently posted…Young Parents Earn Baby Bucks for Learning Life Skills