Listen instead

My first introduction to personal finances was because I sought it out while I was in high school. It was a simple pamphlet called One For the Money, that my church (of all places) published. It was fascinating to me. I could hardly believe at my young age that people could accumulate so much debt as to need special programs. I was surprised that high schools didn’t teach the basics of money management.

I saw people all around me making a poor financial decision early in life, setting patterns of behavior that would leave them in dire straits once the major bills of adult life came. Since most people get their education from learned behavior from parents, this is not a great scenario — since many parents are no better off than their children regarding handling money properly.

There are now a number of initiatives to get personal finance education into the school system. I have not yet seen it structured into the curriculum as I hope it will be someday. Until such an organized system is available, it’s up to us to teach our children by learning and most importantly by example.

Also, writing civic leaders and school boards asking that financial education be part of a balanced curriculum will help students be better prepared for the challenges of adult life. Perhaps lessons learned will even be shared with parents, and generate a conversation about money management principles – possibly even helping to change poor behavior in parents.

How did you learn what you know about financial management?