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Should financial literacy be taught at school?

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Should financial literacy be taught at school?

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Courtesy of Flickr

Courtesy of Flickr

Faith Cheung, Opinions Writer

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Becoming an adult can be both liberating and frightening. However, in any situation, being thrust from the comfort of parents’ protection to learning how to survive as an independent adult is a jolting transition. The largest menace of adult life is the financial aspect: learning how to pay taxes, managing a bank account buying insurance, investing and of course, avoiding bankruptcy.

Unfortunately, there is no destined period in life where children learn about the financial aspect of life. Unlike English, math or even home economics, children are expected to pick up financial literacy skills simply when they graduate, from either first-hand experience or a family member. However, this renders many children financially illiterate, leading to potentially devastating outcomes.

Investopedia shows that financial illiteracy causes many people to become victims of fraud and high-interest rates, which may result in bad credit, bankruptcy or foreclosure. Furthermore, research data by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority show that 63 percent of Americans are financially illiterate, lacking basic skills to reconcile their bank accounts, pay their bills on time, pay off debt and plan for the future.

Simply because they have never been financially educated, children are extremely prone to falling into debt or fraud. Not only does this hurt individuals, but it also hurts the national economy.

According to MoneyInc, as individuals accumulate more debt, they are reluctant to spend more, hindering stimulation in the economy and causing economic growth to become stagnant. Furthermore, financially literate beings are more equipped for their future, causing them to borrow less while adequately planning mortgages and loans, uplifting the general economy, while financially illiterate beings borrow more while spending less, acting as a detriment to the economy.

Children are faced with financial challenges even before graduating, the most frequent being the principle of saving and spending. Younger kids often buy things they don’t need, simply because they aren’t aware of the worth of money. Showing children the value of money serves as a perfect opportunity for financial literacy to be taught at a young age, so as children progress in the school system, they can build off a strong foundation of financial principles, eventually taking on more complicated concepts such as mortgages or bonds.

There is such an easy solution, yet education systems are hesitant to implement financial literacy courses, since parents argue that they would like to instill their own financial values rather than have a school system teach ones that they do not necessarily agree with. However, the irony surrounding this point is that most parents themselves don’t practice proficient or efficient financial habits, which therefore become passed on to their children, perpetuating the chain of detrimental monetary patterns.

“Financial education should be taught the same way we teach health management. They’re both skills that all students will use throughout their lives no matter what occupation they choose to go into.”

Junior Jolly Rop

No matter which way you look at it, the only present and effective solution to battle the burden of financial literacy is to provide a course for it in school systems. Junior Jolly Rop said, “Financial education should be taught the same way we teach health management. They’re both skills that all students will use throughout their lives no matter what occupation they choose to go into.” Not all students may necessarily want to follow a course of science or art for the rest of their lives, but financial literacy is a basic necessity that will follow them through the rest of their days.

Interested in responding? Submit your letters using this google form! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact [email protected] or reach out to Rebecca Huang, Shevani Tewari, or Ashley Ye directly!

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Should financial literacy be taught at school?