I have been a big advocate of financial literacy in high school; I feel it is important to teach sound financial concepts and principles at a young age before the bad habits are developed. Finally it seems like the Canadian Federal government and the Ontario government are catching up and recently announced that Ontario high schools will include will integrate financial literacy in the curriculum from grade 4- 12 starting September 2011 great news!
Why Teach Finance In High School?
Whenever I discuss this topic with parents the first question I get is why waste time teaching simple personal finance when the time can be spend on more important things like English. Shouldn’t the question be whey shouldn’t we teach personal finance early?
Universities are filled with credit card solicitors, as soon as the student hits eighteen the bank offers them student credit cards and surely enough they max it out because they do not understand credit cards or interests, they are bombarded with ads of the latest’s must haves, saving and financial responsibility is never advertised or taught, no wonder consumers are in debt to their necks.
It is important to teach students simple personal finance concepts and financial responsibility at an early age, before they are attacked by credit card companies.
Until just recently the debt to income ratio levels in Canada and the US was at record level, consumers kept loading up on debt without thinking or understanding the consequences. Although teaching finance will not eliminate financially irresponsibility it will at least reduce it. If at a young age you are encouraged to have a savings account rather than a credit card would that be so bad?
Retirement Not Important – Keep it Relevant
Often people think of retirement when they think of financial planning, however retirement is not of any importance to a seventeen year old. When educating young adults about finances things should be kept simple and of interest to them, discuss saving and building wealth, educate them about how interest works for and against them, how credit cards work and the tremendous long lasting negative effect it can have on their future. Whenever I discuss these topics with young adults I almost always am able to get them involved and interested, the best topic is discussing the magic of compounding. How compounding works and how to calculate it this always fascinates them and sure enough I see them calculating how much money they’ll have when they are twenty years old.
Although the government does not know exactly how this integration will work and many question if this is the best method, I am happy to see that the government is moving in the right direction.
What are your thoughts on this topic? What do you think of the Government implementing this program?