Most lessons in schools are essential. However, while it’s extremely useful to know basic mathematics, science, and literacy, these subjects are certainly not everything one needs to succeed in life. Unfortunately, when it comes to learning fundamental life skills, it can be argued that schools don’t always equip their students with everything they need. The subject of personal finances may be a case in point.
Additionally, schools are starting to teeter off a financial cliff edge, with staff underpaid and numerous cuts taking effect. Clearly several somebodies aren’t doing a stellar job of keeping the education sector well-funded… if only they’d been taught about basic financial management in school!
But what could be taught today in high schools where personal finances are concerned? Well, here’s a few suggestions!
Savings are the natural place to begin when it comes to teaching and understanding money management. After all, young people have unjustly earned a reputation for spending outside of their means, so it’s time to combat some stereotypes with education! Ultimately, savings are key to a solid financial future.
If the principle of saving is taught and understood early, then pupils will take their present and future finances more seriously. For example, kids may purchase fewer luxury items they don’t need or can’t feasibly afford. In the end, responsibility means saving, and it may also help school pupils grow up and realise money can’t just be thrown around on whimsy – all of which is good!
Just as people need to save money, they also need to spend it too! After all, while money certainly needs to be amassed, it’s also a critical resource in securing a prosperous future. Sitting right next to savings in terms of importance then is budgeting, which is vital to living a sustainable lifestyle.
Food, bills, rent, mortgages, maintenance costs on property and vehicles – there are a lot of other money-related subjects that branch out directly from budgeting too! Furthermore, if things get a little dry when talking about the more serious things, then it can be explained that even events like holidays, parties and other fun shenanigans need to be budgeted for as well! Young people often act out of impulse, so budgeting is a great way to start tempering those kinds of behaviours.
Taxes are often mentioned in the media by disgruntled people, branded as either disproportionate or unfair to certain groups. The idea of taxation still causes anger and controversy in some circles. While several complaints can be justified here, the idea of losing some personal income to the government also draws the ire of some who are uneducated and greedy. Well, schools can help pupils understand what’s fair here!
Taxes are of course highly useful to society, and they’re certainly a good thing in the long run. Tax goes to things like public services, and funds healthcare, the military, and even bus routes. It’s essentially the financial fuel of our society, and without it, it simply crumbles. If school pupils can understand what their taxed money will be spent on, chances are they’ll be more comfortable and mature about the whole situation. Instead of thinking it ‘unfair’, they may instead come to learn that they’re contributing their bit to society.
Of course, people can also be taught what’s required in the way of tax if they’re hoping to eventually run their own business. Circumstances will differ depending on what future they envision for themselves. In this field of finances, there’s a lot to learn here!
It’s probably too late to introduce the Help to Buy ISA as part of any school curriculum, given that the deadline for applying for them is the end of this month. Still, they’re absolutely worth spreading awareness about in those post-lunchtime assemblies for the next few days. This is because Help to Buy ISAs helps young people aged 16 and over save for a housing deposit as a first-time buyer.
The more money the user puts into their Help to Buy ISA account over the next 11 years, the more interest the government will give them to go towards their first deposit. The maximum a user can put into this account is £12,000 for a bonus of £3,000, which can make a big difference in the housing arena. A 16-year-old today could well be looking to get on the property ladder in the next 11 years, so being informed by a teacher on these opportunities could really go a long way. There are no debts, no loopholes – it’s just honest (and for many, sorely required) help!
Unfortunately, bad luck can happen to anybody. Many people who are lumbered with debt have only made one small mistake or had one incident occur, and it’s sent them down a spiral of financial misery. Moreover, increasing numbers of young people are finding themselves bogged down by debt too. Some of the pupils in today’s schools will experience such turbulent times at some point in the future themselves, and they need the resources to dig themselves out of that hole as quickly as possible.
It’s worthwhile to teach today’s teenagers about debt. After all, if they are going to university, they’ll encounter it from taking on student loans! Tips like paying more than the minimum repayments, juggling multiple part-time jobs, and knowing when it’s time to sell personal belongings in circumstances surrounding debt could prove very useful. It’s a grim topic, but a necessary one nevertheless!
In the end, it’s worthwhile for schools to teach their pupils about personal finances. It can help pupils prepare for an uncertain and unstable future and may even help them feel more responsible in their day-to-day lives too! Many young people today bounce straight from secondary school into university (which is a time that’s notorious for financial hardship), so it’s better to teach them about personal finances in school so that they can get a head start in safeguarding their future.
I'm a freelance copywriter with an undergraduate degree in English Literature. I've written for many different outlets, including but not limited to marketing agencies, graduate recruitment websites, and online training companies. I've even interviewed a few famous actors for student and arts blogs too! Covering a wide span of material has been incredibly rewarding, as I get to turn my experiences in the arts, education and careers into helpful advice. I sincerely hope you'll find something to your liking here!