University fees, living costs and school supplies typically require budgeting to balance out, something that many college students have never been taught to do. Personal finance classes need to be taught in high school so that people can be prepared and financially literate as they enter college as well as the workforce.
While many high schools across the United States require an economics course in order for students to graduate, these courses usually do not cover personal finance.
According to College Board’s description of the AP Macroeconomics course, the class is described to be a general overview of the U.S. economy, one that analyzes the role of government and other strategies used by the Fed to run economic markets.
Microeconomics focuses more on the individual market areas found within the industry of the U.S. The problem is that neither of these courses teaches students how basic economic concepts will affect their individual lives as they begin working and enter college; it only introduces them to the functions of the economy in general.
Even if students take a normal economics class, these classes often do not teach personal finance nor budgeting, but just basic economic concepts like the AP classes.
A study by the Council for Economic Education found that only 21 states across the U.S. teach a separate personal finance class as a requirement for graduation.
Because public schools don’t tend to teach personal finance, the only way that most high school students then learn about budgeting is from their parents teaching them. But it’s inefficient to just hope parents will teach their kids these complicated topics. Additionally, many parents may not even know how to budget or handle their money.
Embarrassment surrounding financial standing and financial mistakes can often make parents shy away from a conversation regarding budgeting and finance with their children, according to financial education instructor Monica Eaton. Because of it not being taught in school or by parents, many high schoolers are clueless on how to deal with their personal finances when they graduate.
Once someone turns 18 and graduates high school, they are considered an adult. While their family may still support them financially after this, it’s important to know how to deal with money.
Many high schoolers actually want to learn about personal finance and a lack of financial knowledge accounts for about 40 percent of retirement wealth inequality. Teaching people how to handle money can improve their future.
A personal finance class should be required for graduation in all U.S. public high schools. This can help alleviate financial illiteracy among young adults as well as improve their chances of upward mobility and success.
JJ Caceres is a political science freshman who can be reached at [email protected]