Should Pupils Focus on Personal Finance?

When I was younger, my dad was always trying to teach me the value of money but he never really succeeded and it took a series of monetary mishaps before I even started to learn any of the lessons that he had been trying to teach me!

Kids and Money

image by GoodNCrazy via Flickr


Once I realized that I had been horribly mismanaging my finances, a painful lesson to learn, especially on the back of a redundancy, I began to do some research to find out exactly where I had gone wrong and what I could do to put things right.

It was at this point that it occurred to me that I knew absolutely nothing about personal finance and I couldn’t tell an ISA from a current account.

I also began to wonder if I had been taught these lessons at an early age then would I have made better financial decisions once I started earning?

For example, my outlook on personal finance was all about borrowing and not saving and I had no idea what my credit score was or how it was calculated.

Had I known that it could be affected by simply being close to the limits on my current lending streams or by applying for more credit then I may not have been so quick to spend on credit cards.

Although this was not a problem during the credit boom, when offers of guaranteed credit seemed to drop through my door on a daily basis, it has become something of an issue since the credit crunch.

Of course, just knowing the pitfalls of financial mismanagement is no guarantee that I would have done things any differently but it certainly would have made me think about the decisions I was making and the impact they would have in the long run.

All of which led me wonder whether should schools give students (or pupils if you’re in the UK) lessons in personal finance.

I think it would be a great idea as this would be something that everyone, no matter what their level of academic ability, could take with them into the real world.

And it could be the case that a school in the US is one step ahead of the rest as they already have money management lessons as part of the curriculum.

Burbank High School in Sacramento is offering students lessons in personal finance as part of National Financial Literacy Month in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of good practice in personal finance.

The lessons covered personal finance topics such as budgeting, saving and needs vs. wants and placed them into real life scenarios that would resonate with the students, such as estimating how much the senior prom will cost and ways to save and pay for it.

Students were also encouraged to put a portion of any weekly earnings or allowance into a savings account to teach them the importance of saving for the future from an early age.

I think that these were the values that my dad was trying to instill in me from an early age but I failed to take any notice.

I now have two sons that I have to try and keep from making the same mistakes that I made, so any help I can get will be greatly appreciated…here’s to future school pupils focusing on personal finance!



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    1. I think it is a wonderful idea to teach students personal finance topics. We got some of that in high school through our economics class which was a requirement for everyone. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. My daughter is in the process of getting a summer job and really didn’t understand the withholding process and exemptions. Guess I have done a poor job and need to explain better to the ones following her.

    2. I teach a class in financial literacy in a high school in the Los Angeles area. I believe it should be a graduation requirement. Students who about to graduate are my best candidates for the class because they understand it is important for them to succeed in life.

    3. Can we at least agree that is ironic that a broke school district within a broke State is teaching children how not to be broke?


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