In the United States, our school system requires all children to take and pass Reading, Writing, Arithmetic (I hated Geometry), a foreign language, Social Studies, Science, and in some schools they still require Physical Education. However, it still baffles my mind that Money and Credit Management Education is NOT required.
There may chapters that teach the denominations and how to count currency in elementary; as well as a little bit of finance education in high school. And yes, there may be a financial management class offered in college as an elective. Huh? An Elective? Yes, I use Reading and Writing every day of my life. The other required courses … maybe on occasions or for fun, but I deal with MONEY EVERYDAY OF MY LIFE. As a matter of fact, I dealt with money before I could read or write when my grandfather gave me a dollar bill when I was 2 or 3.
So, the question of the day is… Who is responsible to teach a child how to manage money, to leverage its potential wealth building power and to avoid ending up in tremendous debt and bad credit?
…I hear someone in the audience yell… The Parents! OKAY… And who taught the Parents?
Many parents don’t teach their children about how to manage money because they either assume that the schools are doing it or because they don’t know or weren't taught themselves. They may have “Colorful Credit” and could be drowning in debt. They probably were never taught how to balance a checkbook properly. “Checkbook? Who uses checks nowadays? We have debit cards.” HINT: you still must balance your account when using your debit card.
So, the second question of the day is…If the Parents don’t or can’t teach their children how to manage money & credit, who is now responsible to teach the child?
…I hear someone else in the audience screaming, “The Church!” The Church is its people. Most of those people have not been taught and are seeking financial counsel.
I do believe that Financial Institutions, such as banks and credit unions, are the most qualified to teach the world how to manage money. Makes cents (sense) right? “Herein lies the rub…”
LACK OF RESOURCES TO EDUCATE THE MASSES
IF the financial institutions teaches money management to the communities it serves, it may not have the resources to share the information to every consumer that needs and wants it. Some financial institutions, do share money matters information to communities, organizations and schools, when they can get in there; but that is a small drop in a large bowl. BUT…it’s a start!
CAN’T TEACH THE UNWILLING
You can only teach a person that wants to learn. There are thousands of resources online, in the communities, independent professionals, etc. that provide some form of Financial Education. However, reality check… the target audience may be set in their ways and probably afraid or unwilling to make necessary changes or sacrifices to help their financial situation. Money & Credit Management should be taught before bad habits are formed.
IT JUST DOESN’T PAY!
Here is the Oxymoron Answer to this million dollar questions (Pun intended): It is frankly not advantageous for financial institutions to educate consumers on money management. Consumer ignorance is a multi-million dollar business. Financial Institutions make money off of financial ignorance, poor money management, and financial irresponsibility of consumers. Those consumers should take a close look at their monthly bank statements or check out the interest rate on their loan. The less educated/informed and disciplined a consumer is with their money, the more money they will pay in fees and interest. Simple math. So… if that is the case, is it really advantageous for financial institutions to have a massive Financial Literacy Campaign for the world?
I believe that 1) it is the responsibility of the schools to provide the information as a core class from Elementary through Higher Education, 2) it is the responsibility of the Parents to reinforce the information by modeling the behavior of proper financial management for the child and instilling discipline, and 3) it is the responsibility of the Financial Institutions to provide the Financial Educational resources for the Parents to learn more and continue to be informed and fiscally responsible consumers.
Call me a Dreamer or Optimist! I believe that Financial Knowledge is power. And … Hopefully one day the US Board of Education will understand the significance of and require Money and Credit Management Education as a curriculum in all schools. Until then…Private Schools / Charter Schools…here is your opportunity to including Money and Credit Management Education to your curricula. (I'm Just Saying!)
For more information about money and credit management curriculum for your school, contact Madam Money at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2010 Tarra Jackson Enterprises