A few weeks ago, a Tweet of a football player caught my eye. In fact, this has attracted the attention of nearly 100,000 people who liked it:
I would like schools to teach us the essentials of life. Budgeting, tax filing, home buying process, cooking, life decisions, investments, generational wealth, single to married, soon mom or dad, and credit.
These should be the basic requirements before choosing a major program.
– Tyler Lockett (@ TDLockett12) October 30, 2018
I totally agree with Tyler Lockett. Lockett lists 10 items on their wish list. Of these, 6 are personal finance topics. I'll cover them in a minute, but first I'll go to 4, which is not about money.
- Cooked – My high school had "cooking at home" classes including cooking, sewing, woodworking and power mechanics (eg combustion engine operation). It was not very covered, but it's covered at school. Today, my 6 year old has an optional cooking enrichment course in his school.
- Decisions of life – It's a very broad subject and I do not know how you'll teach it at school. Maybe he teaches critical thinking? Maybe this makes a list of advantages and disadvantages?
- Single to Married – I'm trying to see what this program would look like. It's odd to learn how to make a wedding work at school.
- How to be a parent – This can be taught at school. There are many sitcoms where children take an egg home and take it as a child. It's not a parental role of course, but it's something.
With those who are away, let's move on to the 6 themes of personal finance:
- budgeting – My sister site, Be Better Now, dealt with three-budget systems. This would certainly be part of a personal finance program.
- Filing fees – I do not know if it should be taught at school. After all, the current administration said it would simplify the task by sending a postcard. More importantly, the government can make taxes for us.
Aside from all this, most people can use a very simple, free (or very cheap) software to make their taxes. These people could also use relatively inexpensive tax preparation services. If you have complex taxes, like a football player who earns millions (in many states because of the football calendar), it is unlikely that the school will teach this particular case.
- Buying homes – This should be part of a personal finance program at school. It's a lot more complicated than I thought. Fortunately, real estate agents guide you through the process. It's a dressing and I would like to see our schools do better.
- Invest – Another subject that should be dealt with in a school's personal finance class. The program does not have to be too big either. It could cover in a few hours probably the compound interest, the inexpensive index funds and the distribution of the asset / risk tolerance. This is the classic rule of 80/20 … most people would master the basics with very little time.
- Wealth generation – I do not think that should be taught at school. I think that if you care about generational wealth, you can afford to have financial advisors able to guide you in your particular situation. Nevertheless, this could be addressed to explain how compound interest works.
- Credit – Building good credit is important. This would be an essential part of my hypothetical personal finance program.
I find it interesting that most of the "why did not they teach us this at school" are related to money. And it seems like a lot of people agree that it's really important.
So, why are personal finances not taught at school? I do not know. If you have the answer, let me know in the comments.