Regardless of the state or district, all students must fulfill a specific set of benchmarks in order to receive their high school diploma. But, few of these subjects translate to practical, concrete skills that are necessary to become functional adults. Personal finance is one such competency that can either make or break a person’s chances for economic success and stability. So, should this be a required standard for high school graduation?
Why is Personal Finance Important?
When it comes to the concept of fiscal responsibility and economic stability, many teenagers don’t even know where to start. More than half of all U.S. states don’t even require students to take an economics class before they leave high school.
All aspects of money management fall under the umbrella of personal finance. These include budgeting, paying bills, saving, and accumulating/paying off debt.
Building Credit is No Longer a Choice
For the majority of Americans who plan to finance a car purchase, get a mortgage to buy a home, or rent an apartment, growing a sufficient credit history and above-average credit score is important. Even if you strive to pay cash for everything in your life, your credit will likely be reviewed by bankers, renters, and even potential employers.
This number doesn’t only show that you pay your bills on time. Having good credit shows that you’re responsible, attentive, and can handle responsibility. This is why it’s crucial to understand how to build credit, manage monthly payments, and stay in good financial standing.
Early Education Can Prevent Damaging Mistakes Later in Life
It’s an unfortunate reality that most low to middle-class workers no longer have the same pension and benefits packages that were commonplace a few decades ago. Now, the responsibility of saving for retirement and future financial security is largely in the hands of the employee.
There are a variety of ways to do this, from high-risk investments to low-risk savings and IRA accounts. But, learning about investing in one’s future early on is the best way to establish a mindset of saving and preparation. The sooner you save, the better off you’ll be later on.
Classes Could Increase Students’ Earning Potential
According to this 2016 survey, two-thirds of students who reported taking a personal finance class in high school were already earning an average annual salary of $3,000. Obtaining employment early on can help young adults establish crucial skills such as budgeting, filing taxes, and understanding how deductions and brackets function as a whole.
At the very least, students would have more of an incentive to start planning for their future careers and money habits. Planting this seed this early in their professional lives would give them a foundation of frugality and mindful spending that will help them immensely as they build their resume.
Understanding Personal Finance Can Translate to Ownership of Larger Purchases
In the same survey, 20 percent of the students in this group already purchased a car for themselves.
Learning what it takes to own such large purchases can be a major asset later on. Should you fall into a financial hardship, owning a car can also allow you to pull from another source of credit. Car title loans offer fast cash through a quick application, which can be especially useful in an emergency. You can even take out loans in areas with a lower cost of living, simply by owning your own vehicle.
Of all of the useful skills that many adults use on a daily basis, money management is at the top of the list. If there’s one thing that can help you obtain a stable and comfortable life, it’s understanding how to handle your finances.