Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Teach Personal Finance in High School, Please

I was almost wrong. Good thing I checked.

Prompted by a New York Times column about a college offering a course in personal finance, I was all set to rail about it being too late in college to teach such things, that it ought to be done in high school. And then I was going to rail about the lack of such a course at our high school.

But our school offers a course that "provides students with practical knowledge and confidence to address many of the complex financial problems of daily living." That includes going to college (I hope there is a section on college loans and their implications), living independently, budgeting a paycheck, understanding taxes and completing a federal tax return.

It just seems to me that kids need to understand this stuff. It would be particularly useful for teens to understand not only the options for financing college, but also why their parents may not be able to fund all college expenses.

Sometimes financial sacrifices (for parents today, or students when they are on their own, paying off loans) make sense. Sometimes they don't. Greater financial literacy may help teens understand why these college-funding decisions are so difficult.

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