Financial literacy

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Financial Literacy

Article written by Boris Bozic on 06 Sept 2012
Sep 18, 2012 - 2:52:54 PM

Financial Literacy – Why Isn’t It A Part Of The Curriculum?

I came across an interesting story in Forbes online magazine, entitled, How to Raise Financially Savvy Kids. The writer, Jenna Goudreau, touches on a topic most parents have difficulty with, raising financially responsible children. Ms. Gourdreau gets into detail as to why it’s difficult to raise financially responsible children and I encourage you to read the entire story (see below).  The story resonated with me, as it forced thoughts of what we were doing in our home relative to financial literacy for our ten-year-old. The answer – not much. It’s not that we don’t believe it’s important but like most parents I think we fell into the trap of “the child will somehow learn about financial responsibility through osmosis”. Yet if our ten-year-old came home and said, “ I really don’t feel like my math lessons, don’t worry, all the kids around me are doing it so I’ll pick this stuff up by just hanging around them”. Our reaction would be, LMAO! And then we would march his ass into his room to do his math.

I never understood why schools don’t make financial literacy a part of the curriculum. I’m not suggesting it’s as important as other subjects but it is damn important. For children who master calculus, that’s fantastic. But depending on their educational aspirations or career path the calculus learning may be forgotten.  Financial literacy? It’s a part of your life until death.

I was thinking about my own experiences growing up, and the lessons I learned from my parents about money. The lessons were not based on discussions but rather behavior. By the time I was fifteen years old I had a full time summer job. There were no summers off or as my dad categorized it, “bumming around”. From the age of 15 to when school was over I was on a construction site hauling drywall for the entire summer. I remember not liking the job too much but I sure liked the money. I would save all my money and put it in the bank so I wouldn’t have to ask anyone for money if I really wanted to buy something during the winter. It gave me freedom, independence and deep rooted respect for those who did manual labor for a living. Others lessons that I learned was simply by watching my parents. My mom worked three shifts in a factory to help support the family. My dad worked long hours to provide for his family. I guess after watching them do this day in and day out I never had the nerve to ask for an allowance. I can’t imagine saying to my dad, “ you want me to take the garbage out? Sure, give me five bucks”. If I ever did the first thing I would have to do is duck.

For most people financial lessons are learned through experience and the lessons can be costly. I believe some of the pain and expense can be avoided if our schools dedicated a set number of hours a week to financial responsibility and literacy. If you’re a parent give some thought to your child’s financial literacy and perhaps bring it up at the next parent teacher night. It’s time to start thinking about why the school system might be failing your child in the area of financial literacy.

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