Our Financial Education: It’s never too late

By Carlos Portocarrero

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Ever since I became financially aware (thanks to Kiyosaki for that one), I’ve also become aware that there is absolutely no education when it comes to money for a person growing up in this country (I only went to college in the US, but back home I had no financial training either).

Lately I’ve been reading several articles about this topic (one by Frugal Dad and another via Yahoo Finance) that got me thinking about the different solutions to the problem. Sure, teaching kids about it when they are young is one way to go about it. It’s like learning a new language—it’s easier for them to grasp it when they’re young.

But does that mean it’s too late for all the grown ups who are in dire need of some financial direction right now? I say no and one way of attacking the problem is by doing it as a community. When I moved to Chicago I remember thinking how cool it was that the whole city was one big book club (through the One Book, One City program). Seeing people on the train and on the beach reading the book makes it more fun when you talk about it and discuss it.

Well, the Money Smart program is something similar only it seeks to help people get a grasp on their finances, budgeting, etc. Through the library they offer all kinds of literature and expert advice to help people out with things like buying a home, saving money, using credit-cards wisely, etc. I learned all of this stuff online reading tons of blogs and tons of books (which I checked out from the library, of course)—but I think that doing it as a group helps make it easier and less frustrating. I sent tons of emails to Lazy Man, Trent, Brip Blap, and Frugal Dad over the course of my financial education. And they helped me out a ton. It’s important to have someone you can ask for help from when you start to get a little frustrated.

Ideally, the whole idea of “we were never taught this in schools” will be a thing of the past. Like they say, “our children are our future,” so lets hope our generation learns something now to pass on to our kids when they are young. I can’t wait for the day when kids crowd into PF101, toss their backpacks down, and say to each other, “Can you believe our parents didn’t even have PF class??? They were soooo lucky.”

If only they knew . . .

[photo credit: Araceli Arroyo]

3 Responses to “Our Financial Education: It’s never too late”

  • Frugal Dad Says:

    You know I’m right there with you with this one! I’ve made a few enemies in education because of my stance, but as I explained in my article comments, I wasn’t condemning teachers, I was condemning the bureacracy that sets cirriculum in schools. Personal Finance is seen as a threat to more traditional topics, when in fact it doesn’t have to be. Even if there is no PF101 course dedicated to the subject, math, sciences and civics classes could all touch on it more than they do now.

  • Brip Blap Says:

    It’s never too late, but it certainly is better sooner! I don’t even think it needs to be taught in school so much as practiced by our “elders” – our politicians, our civic leaders, our corporations. As long as they continue to contribute to America’s slowly collapsing economy and financial health, it’s hard to inspire today’s youth to care – even if they do have a class in it.

    An interesting question to me is this: all of the information you would ever need to know – EVER – is available for free on the Internet. People don’t take advantage of it. So why is it the schools’ fault kids don’t know PF? We don’t ask the schools to teach health, do we (at least mine didn’t) and that would help people, wouldn’t it? I wouldn’t trust a PF course created by the same brain trust that created NCLB, anyway…

  • Writer's Coin Says:

    Great points Brip, I agree on all counts. I guess the best way to teach kids is by example but I find it easier to get schools to teach it than it would be to get corporations and the government to change their ways.

    I do have faith that it will happen, I’m just not sure I have the answer.

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