There was a really interesting article in the New York Times last weekend about having courses on personal finance for kids in K-12. I think that this is definitely something schools should look into, even if it is not tested. Out of all the courses one takes in primary and secondary schools, a practical course like personal finance can really do some good – especially today.
I never took a formal personal course when I was in school; it wasn’t offered. The closest we came to it was when I was in seventh grade and I was in a “Home and Careers” class. It wasn’t really heavy on the economics; it was more about how to cook basic meals, sew, and the like. We had a unit on caring for a family. We were paired off into husbands and wives, and we had to care for a fake egg. The fake egg was a baby, and we were randomly chosen to have particular careers in different locations, salaries, etc. We had to budget for our home and raise the egg, er, I mean child.
I think I passed, but it didn’t really teach me much about personal finance. We all would fudge the numbers and concoct dream scenarios to ensure we would have enough money to survive. The real world doesn’t let one concoct dream scenarios. It has a penchant to just slap you in the face.
With that said, I gave some thought as to what kind of personal finance course I think would do a great deal of good. Check out this site for actual assignments and courses one organization, the National Endowment for Financial Education, put together for schools that want to take the plunge into personal finance courses.
After the jump, check out my personal finance curriculum.