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Why Personal Finance Should Be Taught In High School

Posted: October 16, 2014 in Advice & Tips, Education, Everyone, Financial News, Ideas & Info for:, Parents, Students, Teachers, Topics, Your Money
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By Brian Page, personal finance adviser

Ninety-three percent of Americans believe all high school students should be required to take a class in financial education. And yes, teens themselves want to learn money management skills. Eighty-six percent of teens indicate they’d rather learn about money management in a class before making mistakes in the real world. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke summarized the need for financial education nicely in the summer of 2012:

“Financial education supports not only individual well-being, but also the economic health of our nation … Consumers who can make informed decisions about financial products and services not only serve their own best interests, but collectively, they also help promote broader economic stability.”

Teachers and parents alike know it’s important to make learning relevant for teens. Fortunately, managing money is not a responsibility exclusive to adults. Managing money is already relevant to most of today’s teens.

  • Many teens have jobs and pay taxes, and need to know how to fill out basic tax forms and file for themselves.
  • They often have money from an allowance or a job and can open savings and checking accounts.
  • Many high school students purchase automobiles and automobile insurance on their own.
  • Teens are considering how to pay for college. Bear in mind that student debt is nearly impossible to discharge and has grown to over $1 trillion nationally, exceeding credit card debt.
  • Teens shop, and some even pay routine bills for items such as cell phones, or they assist with their family’s bills.

Exposing teens to strategies to better themselves financially is a 21st century survival skill. Teens deserve to be introduced to complicated financial concepts by caring teachers charged with preparing them to make wise and informed decisions.

Relying on the school of hard knocks should not be an option anymore. Teachers and parents are in the best position to help teens learn how to manage money, provided they have the knowledge and resources to do so. Our aim is to help by providing the H&R Block Budget Challenge for free. H&R Block Budget Challenge is a money management simulation that uses evidence-based learning strategies to educate teens about real-life budgeting. It is the ideal playground for students to learn how to manage money — an engaging, learning-by-doing simulation.

If we teach teens the skills they need today to manage their money tomorrow, we stand to improve their lives, our lives as parents and teachers and the economy of our country.

8 thoughts on “Why Personal Finance Should Be Taught In High School

  1. I have asked myself why they don’t put this subject in High school. Kids graduate knowing nothing on how to manage their money or how not to get in debt. Example, credit card, loans, rent, utilities even student loans. They don’t know about retirement!!!

  2. I agree i think young adults should get some help and what a better place then school it helps to teach different ways to save and make realistic goals and finicial decisions before we get suckered into a mistake about our finaces.

  3. I completely agree that it should be taught in high school. I have heard of some schools teaching financial literacy, but it’s apparently so dry that the kids don’t even remember anything in the end which is a shame. At 18, you are considered an adult in every aspect of life, yet many 18 year olds don’t even know the difference between gross vs. net income or how interest rates affect debt and savings.

  4. I think is is a good idea to help us prepare for the finances that will have once we get out of high school. I know when I got my job my mom and I opened a checking account and savings account and she has me putting a certain amount a paycheck into my savings.

    1. Smart thinking! Saving (and financial management overall) is definitely a skill better learned sooner rather than later.

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