The Basics of Savings as Classroom Material

by David Bakke

Kids hit the books at Seoul American Elementary SchoolI was discussing some personal finance issue with a colleague of mine the other day, and he said something to me that I had already known n for years.  It was just eye-opening to hear someone else say it.

He told me “If I had only known a lot of this stuff when I was a kid, I would have been much better off.”

Well, wouldn’t we all, right?

Then he said something that never occurred to me before.  He continued,

“They should make this stuff required classroom material for all kids-that way, we won’t have to worry about it.”

At first, it sounded a little silly but the more I thought about, the more it made sense.

This is how I look at it.  Our country is carrying the worst federal deficit that we have ever had in history.  Some say our country is on the verge on bankruptcy because of it.  And although the statistics seem to be getting better, the average American simply lives in debt.  And amazingly, they are content to do so.  Can you imagine how much our economic “position” in the world would improve if we did not have so much debt?

On a more personal level, how much more bargaining power would we all have is we were not in so much debt?  A better credit score would mean lower interest rates on cars and homes, better opportunities for employment, and a host of other things.

Yet, where did all these problems with debt begin?  I guess you could say the core issue is parents and parenting.   Parents who either did not know the disadvantages of being in debt or did not effectively communicate them to their children.

But, what if a lot of this education were a required part of a schools’ curriculum?

I think it could easily be incorporated into a required schedule of classes for children.  The more I thought about it, this is what I came up with:

Grade school-I have not begun to think of the logistics of doing this, but here you would educate on the basics–how to open a savings account,  maybe how interest works etc.

High school— I can remember so many “blow off” classes that I took in high school, that I am sure a “Basics of Finance” or “Your Money, Your Life” class could easily be fit in.  Here, you go hard and heavy about the dangers of credit card debt, what exactly it is, the effects (both short and long term) that it can have on you, and so on.

College-Once again, I can remember so many of my “core” classes for college that I simply didn’t need, that again, some sort of finance or money class could easily be factored in.  Here I think you continue with the credit card debt theme, but maybe also throw in al little about the basics of investing.  For example, what a 401K is, what a Roth IRA is, and so on.

To me, the basics of personal finance is far too important to put on the shoulders of parents. They have too many other important responsibilities.  Also, I think a lot are simply ill-equipped to properly educate their children on the subject. I say put it in the school system and let’s watch our country improve, one child at a time…


1 Brandy May 3, 2010 at 3:53 pm

I soo believe this too. Theres sooo much nonsense you learn in school and nothing really to prepare you for the real world. This ought to be mandatory.

2 David Bakke May 4, 2010 at 1:59 am


Amen to that.

Can you imagine if everything taught in school was actually stuff we could use in real life???

What a concept…

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