Should Personal Finance Be Taught in Schools?

Should Personal Finance Be Taught in Schools? Part 1

We asked 12 community leaders from around the world if personal finance should be taught in schools.

The word used most frequently in their responses: “absolutely.”

What do you think?

Share your thinking with us. Post it as a comment on LinkedIn or email it to us. We will feature it the series. We believe talking about money and sharing stories are a Sammyriffic strategy for raising awareness on the importance of early age, youth and family financial literacy.

Following are the thoughts of 12 community leaders we have interviewed on the topic.

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Tan Phan, MSFP, CFP®, Founder TAN Wealth Management

Personal finance should be taught in high school so students can build a foundation on how money can work for them and how money is used in the economy. Money is a way for us to pay and receive goods and services. I believe that not only personal finance should be taught in school, they should also be taught at home. Thanks to the internet, all skills are learnable. Parents and guardians can learn personal finance then teach it to their kids so their kids can have a competitive advantage in life.

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Budgeting” Bobbi Olson, Budget Coach and Host of the “CentsAble Chat” podcast

I believe personal finance should be taught in schools. It is mind boggling that we teach our kids math, but not personal finance, have college planning and career days, to no end and teach our kids to work, but not how to handle the money they make! Kids are capable of more and I want to see them do more than struggle to survive. I want them to thrive, have choices and, most of all, become independent. 

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Kaleb Paddock, CFP®, Founder Ten Talents Financial Planning

First of all, personal finance should be taught in the home. Parents need to step up and take the lead with their children on the topic of personal finance by sharing their own mistakes and what has worked well for them. Even if the parents have not received a good personal finance education themselves, the opportunity is there to establish good habits and seek out wise personal finance methods. Secondly, personal finance basics should definitely be incorporated into schools. I think we are up against a societal norm that money is a taboo topic and intensely personal. Also, even within finance circles, it can be hard to get consensus on the “right” money habits particularly in regards to using debt, giving generously, and the best approach to investing. As a result, you have inaction and it’s easier to do nothing.

Zanelia Harris, CFP®

Yes, I do.  That’s why I volunteer with Junior Achievement because I feel they are a great resource for educating students about money and adulthood.  Junior Achievement’s real life scenarios make students think about their choices and how they affect their livelihoods.

In the county of Maryland where I live, all 8th graders in public school are required to do a financial education program at the Junior Achievement Finance Park. There are three in the Washington Metropolitan Area.

Devin Banerjee, Senior Financial Services Editor at LinkedIn

Absolutely, and I don’t understand why it hasn’t occurred yet in widespread fashion. I believe it should begin as early as elementary school with basic money habits and responsibilities, progressing via more advanced and practical curricula into high school, when students are gaining independence with an eye toward adulthood. More colleges big and small should also offer personal financial management as an elective.

Daphne Jordan, CFP®

Generally, everyone will have to handle money during their life, yet there isn’t a requirement in every state for high school students to take a personal finance class. In my opinion, knowledge is power and it’s important to equip youngsters with financial skills via lessons and simulations. Doing so would help clear up the web of personal finances early on and could strengthen their future financial health.

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Mike Kelly, CFP®, Kelly Financial Planning

Absolutely. The local high school in my community offered a class when our son was in school. The school also had a bank. That was the first time I ever heard of personal finance being taught in school. It was a class I encouraged him to take. He also worked in the bank. Of note, he also began his professional career in banking.

It’s a Sammyriffic way to infuse joy and knowledge in the financial literacy education process. Get in the habit, like Sammy Rabbit, saving money all the time …

Suzanne Siracuse, Financial Services Industry Executive

Absolutely. It should be a mandate at the State level and a unified curriculum should be employed. I launched several projects around financial literacy while I was at InvestmentNews and I am now working on a project with a non-profit started by a financial advisor around this as well. Stay tuned for more!  This is an area I am incredibly passionate about! 

Brian Dorcy, President & CEO at Excite Credit Union

Absolutely, personal finance should be taught in schools.  I believe the reason it isn’t being taught as much as it should comes down to priorities for educators and parents. 

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Patricia Roberts, J.D., COO, Gift of College

Absolutely!  We teach students about a wide range of topics to keep them healthy and safe – yet schools often omit one of the most important topics – personal finance.

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Derrick Wesley, Founder of iMar Learning Solutions

Yes, it should be taught in schools and it is my mission to ensure it is. Our focus in phase 1 of our launch is to get PLAN-IT into the hands of every middle, high school and college student across the country. Next, we will focus on elementary. We’ll create engaging programs to keep them interested in how money works and develop a system that follows them their whole life.

Nicole K. Martin, Financial Coach, Accountant

No, personal finance should be taught in homes. Home is the foundation of personal beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. Children are most influenced in their home environments.

Lawrence Sprung, CFP®

Absolutely, but only if they can do a great job of it.  My son, as a junior in high school, signed up for a personal finance course and he ultimately dropped it because it was a joke.  They were teaching him such rudimentary concepts most students should have already known that is was not a good use of his time.

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About the Author

Sam X Renick is a children's Author, Co-Creator of Sammy, Award Winning Financial Educator & Double Bottom Line Entrepreneur!

Posted in: Features, Sammy Asks