Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If I Could, I Would

If I could, I would make personal finance a mandatory competency in our educational system. It doesn't matter who or where you are in life, everyone participates in the economics of this society. For goodness sake, I have a business degree and still came out of school not knowing diddly squat about how to manage my own finances. If I didn't get it in a business program, where is it being taught? I'm not crapping on my school because I think the problem is universal. And yes, it would also be nice if some of this was taught at home as well.

How often do we hear, "if I knew then what I know now ...?" For me the ellipses would say, "I would not have spent my entire 20's getting in and out of debt." Certainly I'm not alone in that. Why can't personal finance, which is a fundamental life skill in my opinion, be as important as the other primary subjects such as math and science?

Furthermore, I'd love it if those who were in government offices that influence fiscal policies and/or spend taxpayers dollars were required to have some sort of higher level of personal finance training. No where else in this county can you legally write a blank check other than Washington, D.C and other state capitals. Each year my local newspaper publishes an article that lists all of the elected officials who are delinquent with their taxes. What in the ham sandwich are they doing in elected office, governing fiscal policy for a state, and they can't govern their personal finances? Maybe, just maybe we wouldn't have so much waste in government if financial education was a requirement. Maybe we wouldn't have social services that have run amuck if everyone (with the mental capacity to do so) had some sort of basic financial understanding. Maybe the real estate crash could have been avoided or at least tamed. I can go on and on but I think you get the picture. Do I think financial education is a panacea - no, it's just a good place to start.


Credit Card Chaser said...

If only so many of our elected officials were actually business people, CPA, and financial professionals instead of lawyers.... it's sad really

Shtinkykat said...

Hey, hey. No cr&pping on attorneys, CC Chaser. But, ahem. Although I often say, "If only I knew then..." But the fact of the matter is, I think at some gut-level, I always knew that living beyond my means is a bad idea. But my younger self placed a priority on immediate gratification. Perhaps the education should also focus on delayed gratification.

Yum Yucky said...

YES! They need to be teaching personal finance in school. I had to learn everything the hard way. So glad I'm past the credit report hell of my twenties. LOL!

Ms. MoneyChat said...

shtinky - you were so much better than i was. as ridiculous as it may sound, i was blind as a bat. hey, are they really blind? hmm, i'm not too interested in confirming if they are or not, i like the cliche;-).

josie - looks like we attended the same hard knock school in our twenties. like you, i'm beyond escatic that those days are behind me.

Eron Napier said...

I absolutely agree! I could have saved myself from so much financial hassle if I just knew better. Ultimately, it's our own responsibility to educate ourselves on practical financial issues, but we could certainly be doing more as a society.