According to a recent CNBC.com article, the mutual fund industry is now eyeing kids, hoping to educate them regarding the fund industry. While I view this type of “assistance” warily, as I have a feeling there may be ulterior motives involved on the side of the fund industry, I do feel that getting an education regarding investing and personal finance as a youngster can be extremely valuable.
In fact, I’d venture to say that a personal finance class offered at my high school and that I took as a senior may have been one of the most valuable classes in my curriculum.
General personal finance
A lot of teens just don’t have the experience necessary to move out into a life on their own — or even in a college atmosphere — and be confident in their personal finance skills. While I may have been a bit more prepared than many due to my interest in the subject, when the opportunity to take an elective course centered on personal finance presented itself in high school, I jumped at the chance.
I took the class as a senior and we focused upon a variety of subjects. From how to balance a checkbook, create and use a budget or buy a government savings bond, to identity protection techniques and credit card usage, we covered a number of topics that might seem commonplace to us as adults but are often new topics to us as teens. It was the perfect time to tackle these issues since I would be largely on my own to handle such aspects of my financial life as a college freshman.
A great way to determine future interest
In my opinion, it can be so difficult to know what sorts of things are potential educational or career interests in high school since a student’s real world experience can still be so limited at that time. Having a chance to get a taste of personal finance in high school can help a student determine if the subject of finance might be something they’d like to learn more about moving forward. Getting a taste of credits, debits, compound interest, interest rates, and similar subjects can lead to an education in accounting, finance, or related major in college.
A base upon which to build
While we didn’t focus as much upon the fund industry or stock market in general, my class provided us with a broad overview of personal finance subject matter and laid a basic educational foundation upon which we could build later in life.
With issues like student loan debt, credit card debt, identity theft, the demise of the pension system in many industries, and many of us being largely on our own for retirement planning and similar hefty financial decisions in life, I think that a personal finance class in high school should be a requirement these days. Not only can such a class protect students as they venture out into life on their own, but it can provide them with the knowledge necessary to avoid costly mistakes early on when they are just struggling to make it in the real world.
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The author is not a licensed financial or educational professional or academic advisor. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.