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Sierra Canyon High School

Opinion: Personal finance should be taught in high schools

What can be the reason why nearly half of Americans have nothing saved in a 401(k) and credit card debt has reached its highest point ever with the average American carrying $6,194

After a Personal Finance class this summer at Santa Monica College, I left feeling informed and knowledgeable about everyday “adult” transactions from paying taxes and budgeting. These are basic concepts every teen should know since money is an essential part of people’s lives. It’s unavoidable and bedrock to leading a high standard of living. If every young adult is going to be tasked with managing their personal finances in their future, shouldn’t these concepts be taught from a young age?  

There is a lack of financial knowledge among today’s youth and schools don’t adequately prepare us for the real world or to make financially sound choices. According to an article on CNBC, young Americans, ages 18-29, suffer the highest delinquency rates, percentage of loans that are overdue, 76% higher than any other age group. High schools failing to provide this aspect of life and career readiness is leading to an increasingly financially illiterate society. 

All people need to learn how to properly manage their finances and for teens, high school is a critical time to build early habits. A revised curriculum should be incorporated for Personal Finance or Finance 101 in schools. Schools need to play a role in shaping our values and attitudes about money management so good habits are formed early to prevent financial trouble. Topics should cover everything from understanding cash flow, avoiding recurring financial commitments, smart saving strategies, loans, credit cards, budgeting, tracking finances, even IRAs. 

Not being financially literate leads to making poor decisions about money. By providing basic education in finance, we are paving the way to have a more prosperous society.

If you read this article and want to start educating yourself, a great place to start is YouTube. There are tons of informative videos covering basic topics such as checking accounts, budgeting, credit scores, investing, retirement, etc. However, if you want to dive deeper, I would highly recommend taking a personal finance class at a local college. I took an individual financial planning class at Santa Monica College and found that the assignments offered many opportunities to simulate and plan for my own future goals.