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Old 07-11-2018, 12:38 PM
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Default Do You Think Public Schools Should Teach Financial Education?

Do you guys think public schools should have some sort of financial education classes built into the curriculum? How useful or effective would this be? What grade do you guys think will be the most useful and how much education should teachers dedicate their time into teaching this?

When I was in elementary school, we have this amazing program all 4th and 5the graders participated in called "Micro-society". Every student would be assigned of their choosing to some sort of occupation like a banker, a police men, a lawyer, or a business owner. For 2 hours a day, students will participate in their roll and will earn micro-society dollars as they work their jobs. The business owners would take out a "loan" from the general store which can fill their "shops" with goods(toys, snacks, books, etc etc). Business owners would sell these goods to people with jobs, making a profit and paying back their loans. Of course as little 5th graders, the concept of loans were pretty foreign and a lot of people including myself just took the revenue from the business and defaulted on our loans..lol. Policemen were policing the halls and give out tickets for people running(since you only have 2x 20 min breaks to shop per week). The bad offenders would end up in court. I had someone who allegedly stole money from the bank and we had a trial. I was the head teller and ended up as a witness. Very advanced stuff for elementary school, not to mention completely unforgettable due to how awesome the program was.

I can see how financial education can be tied into programs like these. I don't know if teaching students while most never earned a paycheck will be effective, especially if their parents are not financial savvy. What do you guys think?

Last edited by Singuy; 07-11-2018 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:01 PM
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As a retired public school elementary school teacher, my question is going to be when will this be taught -- the government has already made so many mandates on how long reading, math, and language are to be taught and if your state is a common core state, there is always that infinite testing so teachers are to teach to the test. Ideally, if schools could teach what kids really need, I would say yes, schools should and could, but at this point, not sure when they would have time and still cover all the things that are required.
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:18 PM
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Even if financial classes are taught...I dont think the students will get much out of it. I took accounting classes, learned how to balance checkbook, write checks, fifo, lifo kind of stuff...it didnt have any impact on how I handle money.

One of the more important classes was typing. Learning to type properly has come in handy more than anything.
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Old 07-11-2018, 03:16 PM
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Yes I do, starting about 2nd grade, every year.
If you think about it, there really aren't too many other subjects any more important than learning how to manage your money.
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Old 07-11-2018, 03:37 PM
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Yes I think it's very important for kids to be taught in school!

My rising senior is taking a personal finance class as an elective this year. I'll see what I think of the class after he's taken it. But I think all high schoolers should take a class like this! There is such a disconnect with people and their money and probably because the generation before us didn't have to worry about money with their pensions. Whatever they saved was gravy.

With a greater population of kids going to college and taking student loans they need a more in depth knowledge of how everything works. Yes many won't get it because they're aren't living it, but I think it will help when they do get there to have some general knowledge.

Too many parents are clueless and not able to teach their kids. I'm not looking forward to seeing what the world is like in another 30 years.
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:14 PM
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It absolutely should be part of the curriculum. It is a mandatory class in our district. My daughter took it when she went through. But I don't think it should just be one class. It should be woven into everything from first grade through twelfth.

To answer rob62521, it could easily be part of the math curriculum. We teach money stuff in elementary school, making change and such. Adding spending and saving to that conversation would be a natural fit. Then when they are learning fractions and percentages would be the time to introduce lessons on debt (paying interest) and saving/investing (earning interest). Later in middle school and high school, you can move into the topic at a deeper level with budgeting, student loans, car loans, and things that would make more sense at that age.
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thrif-t View Post
Too many parents are clueless and not able to teach their kids.
Exactly. So many people say this doesn't need to be taught in school. It should be taught at home. But most people don't have a clue. It needs to be taught in school so that maybe the students can then bring that knowledge home.

And it's almost all fairly basic math - addition and subtraction and percentages. They are already teaching that stuff. Just make it real-world relevant by adding the personal finance angle.
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:39 PM
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Absolutely! I know quite a few people my age who are in horrible financial shape due to past money mistakes. Learning through real-world missteps is an expensive way to gain knowledge, and some people will continue to stumble. I'd much rather equip our youth with an understanding of basic financial concepts early on.
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:48 PM
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Should it be taught? Yes

However what will the underlying message be? Will they take a boglehead approach, a savings advice approach, mr money mustache or a consumer spending/borrowing, paycheck to paycheck approach?

What if the schools taught something that you (the parent) were completely against? For instance teaching whole life insurance as a good investment (ha!) or borrow as much as you can in life and take the 72 month car loan. Or the stock market is just gambling with your money?

public schools are run by the government. There may be a reason why practical money matters are not taught.
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:06 PM
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It should be taught but it never will because part of money management is personal responsibility.
No one wants to offend anyone. Even as an elective or on college level most topics or course are kept so basic it does not sink in. Money mistakes often have a person behind them and the PC world no one is at fault/ it is just the times or world we live in attitude.
Look at the focus of so many so called articles on money they are statements like (x) % have nothing saved so if you fall in that it is not you everyone is in the same boat philosophy. Most articles are simple rationalizations
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:41 PM
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things like financial education and sex education should be the responsibility of the parents. however, the average parent seems to be sorely lacking in their ability and/or willingness to teach these subjects, so it should be the responsibility of the school system to teach the theory. It should not push kids towards certain investments or lifestyles. It should not teach kids that microsoft stock is good or how to be miserly or whatnot. it should teach them things about financial and debt instruments and certain skills perhaps like balancing a checkbook. private schools on the other hand might have more leeway to push certain agendas such as learning to save, creating stock portfolios, maximizing return, etc.

Last edited by ~bs; 07-11-2018 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:05 PM
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I feel that teaching these students, no matter what age, can be a useless endeavor. Telling someone to save their money for a rainy day, don't live paycheck to paycheck, have a financial plan, and learn the principle of compounding returns vs interest paid are lessons that need to be experienced, not taught.

Imagine taking a cooking class in which no one steps into the kitchen. The curriculum consist of only reading books about ingredients and watching chopping techniques on youtube. All of this will end up being a waste of time and bears little usefulness when it comes to real cooking.

In order to have students learn how to be financially sensible, it needs to be experienced which is more elaborate than just opening the math book and learn about percentages. The micro-society I've experience was a good foundation. Imagine if banks were giving out 15% interest rates..this will teach students to save their micro-society bucks and see it grow. Imagine if there was a 401k system built into their paychecks. Also imagine if there are halo items being sold that requires months long of hard saving. Of course my school's micro-society had none of that but what they had was pretty revolutionary already.


I bring this up because the financial class I give to graduating pharmacy students had a difference of affect after I put in slides from my personal experience. Most of the slide deck focus on having them live like a college students while earning a 6 figure income. I can tell that they got the "yeah yeah I heard this all before" look. Some even called my financial advice "that's just plain no fun".
A student of mine however went to my house for a party and convinced me that I should post pictures of my house in the slide because she thought I lived in a shack. I eventually did, showing my own net worth and what my life looks like after 13+ years of being financially sensible. Those pictures changed everything and got my students extremely excited about saving money.
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Last edited by Singuy; 07-11-2018 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 07-11-2018, 08:43 PM
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They teach personal finance at our local hi skool, but not grammer.
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Old 07-11-2018, 10:04 PM
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I wouldn't trust teachers to teach my daughter finance. Some of them are very outspoken with their political beliefs and think things should be free. I also don't think it would make much of a difference, to be honest. My high school taught personal finance. I had the exact same teachers as my older sister and I'm pretty sure we even had the same book. We were only 2 grades apart. She is horrible with money. My other sisters also went to the same school and are only so-so with money. I think it is just like math or spelling or cooking. You either have a knack for it or you struggle with it.
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Old 07-12-2018, 03:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Singuy View Post
I feel that teaching these students, no matter what age, can be a useless endeavor. Telling someone to save their money for a rainy day, don't live paycheck to paycheck, have a financial plan, and learn the principle of compounding returns vs interest paid are lessons that need to be experienced, not taught.
Agreed. They're just too young to grasp anything a financial class would throw at them.

Should we also teach young students the psychology of money? How not to keep up with the jonses...that if their friends are spending all of their allowance/money on clothes that they should ignore that and shop at a thrift store instead? Good luck with that.

Id love it if school districts could figure out a way to teach kids about money that would have an impact on them for life...but its never going to happen in the real world.

Id much rather see arts sort of classes come back...like art/music/shop. Our district got rid of a lot of that stuff...gotta shove STEM down everyones throats.
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:00 AM
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This question has come up before. In theory, it would be a good thing to do. Some basic budgeting could be taught alongside math. I'm just not sure how it could be introduced so it has a positive impact. I had years of English, but I couldn't tell you how to identify the supportive adjective (if that's even a thing.) Finances were something that I had to learn through time and experience. I was taught Calculus, but there was never any mention of searching for and purchasing cash flowing assets.
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:41 AM
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I took a class in college do not remember most because it was too abstract. Just like any other skill it is not about the class / teachings it is about the practice of that skill. I think most people can recite the financial mantras like "spend less then you earn or pay yourself first" but they do not PRACTICE this. When teaching this most people start talking basic math. It is about much more then math. If it was just MATH we would not have so many in debt/ having money problems.
I knew people on a regular basis chased their tails trying to pay basic bills and had zero savings but could up with the money for any item they truly wanted. A person whom asked for help every couple months on FB to keep lights on but came up with between $400-500 per ticket every year for a music festival held 150 miles away and they camped over the 3 day festival which was an added fee/ cost. Not to mention her vehicle was always on verge of death and they asked for rides everywhere, but it was fine for a 300+ mile trip?
Dave Ramsey has made a good living teaching financial education. Granted his audience has real money to practice these teachings on.
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
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They're just too young to grasp anything a financial class would throw at them.
I disagree. I think the basic concepts of personal financial management can certainly be taught in an age-appropriate way. Especially at a high school level, kids are already interacting with money on a regular basis. Many of them are working so they have incomes they need to manage and many/most have no clue how to do that.

I think a big reason why so many adults struggle with credit cards and budgeting and investing is because nobody has ever taught them how to do it. It's not something that we all naturally know how to do.

I'm actually surprised that anyone here would be opposed to basic financial education for our children.
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:26 AM
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I'm actually surprised that anyone here would be opposed to basic financial education for our children.
If someone can develop a program that is beneficial then im all for it.

I hate to say this or the thought of it...but most people really arent interested in learning about saving/investing. Many live paycheck to paycheck...and those who do eventually figure it out later in life pay someone to manage their money for them. These financial forums you see...everyone that frequents them make up the smallest percentage of people living in the US.

The very few of us who care about saving/investing are a rare breed.
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rennigade View Post
If someone can develop a program that is beneficial then im all for it.
I've shared before how I've done "Dad's Financial Academy" for our daughter. Starting in elementary school and continuing to today, I've sat down with her and taught and reviewed first the most basic financial stuff and later more advanced stuff when it was appropriate to her level. I haven't done anything wild or overly complicated and our lessons rarely lasted more than 10-15 minutes. I see no reason why similar education couldn't be incorporated into school curriculums. As I said earlier, most of it meshes well with math classes, especially early on. Later, like in high school, it should be its own class, as it is in our area.

Will kids care? Most probably won't, but most don't care about English or History or Algebra or Physics either but we keep teaching those, so I don't we shouldn't try. Just being exposed to it is better than not. And it's certainly more useful information than a lot of other stuff we force our kids to study.
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