Who is responsible for teaching our kids financial education?
"Financial education should be a subject at high school," say the many when lamenting the high proportion of the Australian population who manage their money ineffectively. The degrees of ineffectiveness and the areas of life they affect are countless. So, let’s go and blame it on 'the system’.
Or should we pause for a minute and look at the situation a bit closer?
How do we learn? The most effective method of learning is by experience. To experience is to understand. I can’t even remember some of the subjects I was taught in secondary school, let alone their content. If they weren’t relevant to what I was doing at the time there was no way I would remember them. For most of us, it was just a matter of retaining a bit of information long enough to be able to recall it parrot fashion for the exam and then you could let it go.
Teaching children financial literacy theory at school will be an uphill battle unless they get the opportunity to put it into practice and it has personal impact.
Teenage children may have some form of income from after school and holiday work. They may have a couple of expenses, for example, clothes, movies, mobile phones etc., however there are insufficient categories of ‘real life’ expenses to teach the principles of budgeting and cash flow in a household situation.
Teenage children are already living in a household where money is flowing in and out. They are affected by the flow and can have an impact to the outcome if they know what is going on.
If a teenager is already in ‘the perfect teaching environment’, the home, whose responsibility is it to show the way? School teacher or parent? Should we be expecting more government funding to go into the education system for something we could effectively teach at home? Simple family budgeting is not rocket science. It is based on the law of cause and effect. It is just making sure the causes are significant enough and knowing what those effects will be. It also requires a little diligence tracking and projecting the money flow.
But my parents didn’t teach me about financial education. I wouldn’t know where to start. I don’t know anything about budgets.
We are fortunate to live in the information age and it is there just for the asking. There are many self-help books, software programs, personal financial education and coaching programs available. It can even be as simple as recording household weekly expenses in an exercise book and reviewing them. The internet, library and specialist magazines are great starters for information gathering. Prices vary and, depending on your specific needs and ‘budget’, pick what is suitable and get started. Self-improvement does have a rippling effect and what better way to have an effect on your children.
So, is it a parent’s responsibility to teach their child or is it a matter of ‘passing the buck’?
We include financial education as part of our program. We will provide you with the knowledge and the tools to plan, manage and control your finances. We will show you how you can make and save money. Our education goes beyond budgeting; we get to the core of financial prosperity and fulfillment. Read about our program.
“Tell me, I'll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me, and I'll understand.” Chinese Proverb