Opting out of sex education in middle school because parents wanted the subject to be “taught at home” was a common thing before the 2000s, but now almost every parent is willing to let their child be taught sex ed in middle school. While this may now be mainstream, financial education is not, even though it is equally as important. Students shouldn’t be left in the dark on how to manage their finances.
The biannual Survey of the States by the Council for Economic Education found that 20 states currently require high school students to take economics. This is two fewer than in 2014, even though it’s found that states with the strictest mandates send their graduates off to a better financial start. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Investor Education Foundation discovered in January that those who take personal finance courses have better average credit scores and lower debt delinquency rates as young adults. This financial education lowers the probability of students from falling 90 or more days behind on future credit card payments, so it’s difficult to argue that financial ed is not necessary to the curriculum.
The lack of financial education also makes it almost impossible to achieve the American dream. People, in order to be successful, need to know how to save, invest, and spend their money wisely while also knowing how to deal with debt. However, it’s not really easy when the number one source from which people under 55 receive their financial tips is a relative or friend, according to a survey by E-Trade. They are left to fend for themselves or rely on family and friends, as a result of the “taught at home” mindset.
Moreover, Schwab MoneyWise says that almost two-thirds of young adults believe financial fitness in schools K-12 is more important than physical and sex education combined. It’s obvious that teens feel that it’s important to make better choices about managing money. It also reveals the lack of knowledge they have in the current curriculum.
Is it safer to put money into one business or investment, or to put money into multiple businesses or investments? (The answer is multiple businesses or investments). Students in high school should be able to answer this with no problem, but unfortunately, this particular topic of education is being overlooked. Thus, leading to an everlasting decline in financial literacy unless acted upon in the right measures.
More than one in six students in the U.S. failed to reach the average level of proficiency in financial literacy in 2012. Financial literacy is the ability to understand how money works in the world, and according to spglobal.com, it is a critical barrier to financial and economic participation.
However, studies indicate that a human’s brain is not fully developed until their mid-twenties, so often times high school students will only listen to what they want to hear, and the financial ed class might not even phase them. Some schools are already on budget cuts and adding in this class could eliminate or take time from liberal arts as well. Nevertheless, educating students on this subject will majorly benefit them in the end, as they can actually apply what they’re being taught to the real world.
Similar to what’s taught in sex ed, financial ed should focus on basic and practical life skills that show students that they shouldn’t have to worry about what’s ahead of them after leaving high school. After all, in any education, there’s more to gain than lose.