Looking back, it’s no wonder many of us go out into the world without the faintest notion of how to handle personal finances. Some may be lucky enough to have learned a few basic skills from parents or grandparents, but high school certainly doesn’t prepare young graduates for the majority of financial issues they’ll encounter in the future.
The U.S. public school system focuses a lot on math theory, but doesn’t really show students how to apply it to everyday issues like budgeting, balancing a checkbook, rate shopping, financing purchases and building credit scores. If high school students took just one semester of finance as it applies to practical life skills, they’d be better prepared when it comes to paying bills, financing cars and filing income tax.
Most high school students who work do so only to have spending money. They don’t have to allow for living expenses such as rent, food or utilities. Learning to budget as a teen means delaying some purchases to put money aside for future use. While some high schools may offer an individual class or two on housing management or finance, budgeting is not taught in general as standard course curriculum.