Personal finance is something that I believe should be taught in school, but it probably isn’t taught as it should be. Because of that, I decided to take it on as my own responsibility to teach my children about personal finance. While my children are not in high school just yet, I will begin to teach them everything they need to know before they graduate into the world on their own.
You may not think personal finances are as important as they seem, but they are. Believe me. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way because I did not have anyone there to really teach me when I was younger. However, the scariest thing is that kids today learn LESS than what I did when I was in school. Heck, they don’t even teach kids how to write checks anymore. I learned that in 5th grade!
Below, I will go over some of the ways that I would teach high school-aged children about their personal finances.
Yes, you hear about this all of the time: budget, budget, budget. It may get old after a while, but it is important and needs to be learned. I plan to teach my children how to budget because it WILL help them in the end. Think about it for a moment. If you do not have a budget, your finances may look something like this.
Pay Day: + $300
Power Bill: – $150
Water Bill: – $80
Groceries: – $75
Credit Card Statement: – $50
Total: – $55
Uh-oh! You are in the hole. Therefore, it is so important for you to budget because then you know EXACTLY how much money you have, when you need to pay a bill, and what you will be leftover with. It becomes even more important when you have a family to take care of. If all of those bills in the example above are due the same week, you would be in some serious trouble. However, if you had budgeted correctly from the previous week, then you may have been able to roll over funds to cover your next round of bills. At the very least, you’ll have some financial certainty (good or bad) in your life.
Bank Accounts and Credit Cards
I plan to teach my children about banks accounts. This is crucial because they need to know how they work. For example, if the bank account has a zero balance, this does not mean you can simply “borrow” from the bank. In fact, you just have NO money. This is where it can get fuzzy for some people, especially the ones who see a gray line between debit cards and credit cards.
I also plan to teach my children about credit cards. This is where I was not so smart as a young and impressionable teen. I spent wildly and partied like I had a ton of money. Guess what? It ran out, and I owed A LOT of money. I was screwed.
I do not want my kids to find themselves in this position, so I plan to teach them about credit cards. Hopefully, it will help them understand how it affects their financial health. Luckily, they can learn about the consequences of acting the way I did with a plastic card in hand without learning the hard way.
Many young teens do not know what a credit score is or how to obtain one. I know when I was younger, I thought you were just given a number when you graduate high school and had to maintain it. It is much different than that, and your credit score can control your life, especially if it is a poor score.
I plan to teach my kids about credit scores and how to improve and maintain it. I will also teach them how easily it can be destroyed. They should know that it can take years and years to improve it once it has been destroyed.
I intend to teach my children the importance of saving up their money. Not only do they need the money for fun things such as an exciting scuba diving trip (random), but what if they need to cover an unexpected emergency later? This would be where that life lesson about saving money comes into play and rescues them. I plan to drill it into them that they should set aside a percentage of their money every time they receive some.
When my children are ready to head into high school, I plan to teach them about personal finance. I cannot rely on the school to do it, so I need to. I plan to teach them the above four things and really help them understand how money can help or hinder them in their future.