Do Schools In Your Area Teach Finances

United States
February 12, 2007 8:39pm CST
I was volunteering at the food pantry and was amazed at the conversations about checking accounts. Many of the clients had overdrawn their checking account over the holidays. Many said they always overdraw before payday. Years ago, when I was in school, we were taught these things. Our classrooms were small enough to get one on one attention. That got me to wondering if schools teach finances. Do schools teach to balance a check book? Do they teach how importnat it is to have a savingsaccount? Do they teach how to understand the interest added to money borrowned? I ask one of the ladies if she was taught how to balance a checkbook in school. She said "No" The lady was 29 years old and could not balance her checkbook. She said she forgets to write it down when she uses her debit card. I found that this was the problem for most of the clients who overdrawn. I must admit, it is easy to forget to write down money spent with a debit card. Is that the purpose of debit cards??? Do the banks want us to over draw our account. Must admit, it is beginning to look that way. Our bank makes $35.oo on each overdrawn check or debit card purchase. How much does your bank charge? These families are barely making it on their income now. Overdrawing their accout make it hard to catch back up. They cant afford food for their families so they come to the foodpantry for assistance. We have USDA foods, which is food donated by the government. Who is the government???? It is you and me. It comes out of our taxes. So the cycle continures. It affects all of us when the school system fails. It raises our taxes to help them out. What our school teaches is important to all of us. Some people just dont understand this fact. What is your opinion?
8 people like this
34 responses
@bam001 (941)
• United States
13 Feb 07
I think we are sadly lacking in our educational system by not teaching finances. Kids seem to hate math (adults do to for that matter)! And, as a math teacher, I think a lot of it is because we don't typically teach math as an applicable subject. If we could teach students finances (beginning in Kindergarten or First Grade) and continuing to add to it all the way through high school and college, we would have a population with a lot less debt and a better understanding of the economy. I think that we really should get down to business in the educational system and teach some life skills like this. In the earlier grades, kids could be taught about how to budget an allowance or monetary gifts. It wouldn't be too hard...give them a target percentage to try and save. Let them set up some kind of account to save for something...maybe a toy that they really want. Then, as they save money toward the goal, they could practice adding their deposits and subtracting the total from the price of their goal purchase. We could integrate multiplication and division in there too...by letting them figure out how much allowance they get in a year if they are paid weekly or monthly. They could also figure out how many weeks they need to save a certain amount to reach a target goal (division). As they reach high school, we could teach about interest (buying a car), saving for college, etc. Tomorrow, I am teaching annuities (retirement planning) and amortization (mortgages). :)
3 people like this
• United States
13 Feb 07
You have some wonderful ideas! Thanks for sharing them with me. I do hope to see kids being taught these skills. It is sad that they are not being taught now. Thanks so much for your comment.
@Shaun72 (15968)
• Palatka, Florida
13 Feb 07
I agree they should teach it more in school I make myself as soon as I am done shopping or whenever I use my debt card. I look at my recipts and go ahead and subtract that amont the very same day so that way I know that my bank account doesn't get messed up. I can't afford to pay that back and mine is $35.00 also. I have had a checking account since I was 19 I am 34 now son to be 35. I guess schools don't teach childern like they use to any more I took a bussiness class for a short while after school. I quit school years ago when I was 18 but I did retake it last year or did home school at got my diploma.
• United States
13 Feb 07
That is great that you went back and got your diploma. Congradulations. I do the same thing as you, I write it in my checkbook in the car as soon as I get out of the store and then I check to be sure that I wrote everything down from my receipts when I get home.
1 person likes this
@merkava (1225)
• Philippines
13 Feb 07
Back in my high school days we had a year of Financing and Accounting. But we were more focused on accounting. Asset, Debt, service rendered, income statement, balance sheet...etc. It was a very fun subject. It was like math and physics combined without the hassles. That helped me a lot when I decided to have my 1st start-up.
• United States
13 Feb 07
That is great that you were able to have a class and learn so much.
@Willowlady (10666)
• United States
13 Feb 07
My school in the 70's taught finances and balancing checkbooks. Schools now seem to teach about the proficiency tests. Our bank charges 34 dollars a pop. Got into trouble before Christmas since the hubby would debit and withdraw and I would not know and pay bills. So I got to keep the debit card until we caught up. Took a bit. He now is much better at getting the slips and notes into the checkbook. Classes for this would be good for those people coming for food. They could learn and then get their food allottment. Our tax money could go farther. Return the classes to school to teach about checkbooks and interest too.
2 people like this
• United States
13 Feb 07
I am just amazed that it is not being taught today. they keep saying that people are in so much debt so why are they not theaching them the basics that my prevent debt.
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
13 Feb 07
They do in our school district and it's great. A large credit union in the area works with the schools. A representative from the CU comes to the school once a week. Starting in 1st grade the kids can get a savings account. Each week they can add to the account or take out as they wish. They get a bank account book to keep track of what they have, they earn interest and everything. In 5th grade they can get a "student checking account". They are responsible for keeping track of "checks" they write (at school store, lunch/snak room, not regular stores around town). Parents can give money to the kids to add to their accounts and many parents (I did) will give the kids lunch money and maybe a little extra then the kids are responsible for managing their money. If they spend to much on snaks and don't have money for a new pencil when they need it they are responsible. The savings account is a real savings account, my son still has his and he's in high school now. My next to the oldest son started in 1st grade and closed his account 3 years after he graduated.
• United States
13 Feb 07
You are so lucky. That is great fo the credit union to do that. Kids need to be informed in financial matters.
@wisedragon (2330)
• Philippines
13 Feb 07
Unfortunately it is rare that schools teach financial literacy. That's because the teachers themselves are financially uneducated! This is one of the reasons why most people in the world are struggling financially. They may have a job and a paycheck, but they just don't know what to do with the money. To facilitate monitoring of your bank accounts, I recommend utilizing your bank's online services. More and more banks are offering websites where you can track your transactions from the comfort of your own home. I do this every day. Just be sure that your computer is installed with a reliable firewall/antivirus software to ensure the security of your accounts.
@brendalee (6083)
• United States
13 Feb 07
In our school district they have a class called living skills or something like that. they teach the kids about having a checkbook. I'm not sure if they touch base on a savings account but they probably do. They also teach them about responsibility. Each child gets a hard boiled egg and they have to care for it for a week. They get to decorate so it looks like a baby and they have to keep a journal of what they did for it. Youe egg must come back unharmed or you fail. I think these kinds of classes are good for the kids. Kids may graduate smart but they can't handle reality. I think these classes help that. Now for your other question, I really don't know what the bank charges for overdrawn accounts. I only have a debit card through paypal. I am only allowed to use whats on the card. Its safer for me that way.lol
1 person likes this
• Australia
13 Feb 07
I remember seeing a couple of my friends in high school (1 to 3 years higher than me) doing the whole boiled egg thing. My school put a pink or blue dot on the bottom of the egg so they would know if it was a boy or girl. Although at the time, we all thought it was quite funny, today I actually think it was a pretty good idea. The last group to have to do that was the year above me. Definetly believe, that even if it didn't do much good, I don't believe it could have done any harm having to do it.
1 person likes this
@Debs_place (10525)
• United States
14 Feb 07
My son was an anti-honor student, even though he was very smart, he did awful in school, he hated school. Well he needed 3 years of math to graduate and they put him in a living skills math class, it was probably one of the few useful classes he took in HS. He learned to balance a checkbook, calculate how much paint you need to paint a room, square footage for carpeting etc. Made me wonder why they do not teach it to everyone. If people don't remember to write down withdrawals that is not something a school can teach them. What I have always done is deposits get rounded down to the lower dollar and withdrawals get rounded up, it simplifies the math, and with in a few months, you have built a bad check cushion. Maybe the food pantry could set up some classes to help people learn the ins and outs of bill paying and checkbook balancing and wise shopping so that they can make better choices in life.
1 person likes this
@crazynurse (7489)
• United States
14 Feb 07
Sadly, with the onslaught of higher level math classes being required for 'graduating with honors' we seriously (in my community) have people who can do geometry and calculus but who know nothing about basic finances, how interest is compounded, checkbook balancing etc! Our kids are pushed through the higher level courses so that the school can claim that X % of their students are 'college bound'...so sad. The kids who are not college bound (which is very few) are placed in a 'math lab' and are taught basic math skills...addition/subtraction/multiplication etc. I feel like ALL students need to learn math for everday life (as I call it!) and be able to balance their checkbook and make good decisions when shopping (unit price). You bring up a good point, that lack of this skill ends up hurting all of us, not just the person who can't do the math. Try telling that to the local schoolboards and see how far you get.....grrrrr.
1 person likes this
@grzdingz (187)
• Philippines
14 Feb 07
living in a third world country and poverty is the very known problem and the government dont have enough fund to support different institutions especially the schools, the the outcome would somewhat lacking like what you cite now..... i came from a public school and never have the chance to balance a check book and honestly and dont even know how to use that one. im glad i have my fiancee to teach me....do you see the connection of the lacking of funds and the lack of knowledge you will gain then when schooling..?the school facilities are lacking, the teachers used obsolete ways of teaching and attended less training for them to be as good as what we want to have so they can have enough knowledge to impart for their students.its going now.....
@himlaks (10)
• India
14 Feb 07
If the developed country's condition is like this way, just image the conditon in under developed countries, where primary education is itself lacking.When they don't know to read their name how will they manage to balance their check.So along with their primary education they should be thought about savings, and how to balance their expenditure and checkbook.
1 person likes this
@Djmuffin (28)
13 Feb 07
Where i live the only place that teach finances are colleges because all the schools are to wrapped up in teach in important subjects like Maths,English and Science so i dont think they really care to much for what people will be earning later on i life.
1 person likes this
@clownfish (3277)
• United States
13 Feb 07
Hi! It sounds like you've been reading Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. :-) I've just read the first part of it, but he states that a lot of people don't know how to manage their money because it's up to the families to teach that, so if they don't know, it follows suit that they can't teach their children after them to manage money, etc. I think it would be excellent if schools taught about managing money and investing. I wish I could have learned that in school! :-)
13 Feb 07
i think bro u hav not learnt ur lessons well when u were at schools,,,,,, coz there was soem chapters in mathematics that teaches everything about banking,,,, and the theories were based on cheque books, ledgers and all such things that accounts for banking in real life and the chapters continued with nterst and capital sums,,,,,,, cheers bro
1 person likes this
• Canada
13 Feb 07
Well, as one that has recently got out of high school and taken every business-related class that they offered, I can honestly say I would have been screwed if my mom didn't teach me the ways of the checkbook. Accounting in high school doesn't cover the "basics" whatsoever, but do you want your school to shell out the cash for information that you can walk down to your neighbourhood bank for? It's easy to get info about this and you always got the WWW.
1 person likes this
@m_1100 (1)
• Egypt
13 Feb 07
no the collage only do this
1 person likes this
@parekh91 (33)
• Canada
13 Feb 07
does accounting count for finances? if so then yes my school does provide financial related coarses (high school only)
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Feb 07
Now this really surprises me! Is bookkeeping not taught in math anymore? Oh, dear me, I am really old! My bank charges $20.00 for an overdraft but it is a credit union and they are most always a bit cheaper. You are right about people who don't take the time to write things down in their checkbooks; but at the same time, when I use my debit card or if I actually am writing a check in a line, the cashiers that I seem to draw, most always get really anxious and irritated with me as if I am wasting their time when I start writing balances down. I feel as though I am being rushed through and scurried out of the store. ~Donna
@Ravette (21)
• United States
13 Feb 07
In my area highschools have whole classes set up for Finances and they are required classes. We were taught to balance a checkbook , how to set up a budget. I think it is just the laziness of people that causes problems. They don't however teach you ANYTHING about debit cards or internet banking. I think it is stupid that they don't because that is the future. I hate writing checks simply because they don't go through right away and the card is easier to carry. I think a lot of the problem is laziness of our young people today. (yes I know I am only 21 so I am one of them lol!) They don't want to bother trying to keep that bank records in order. I was taught to check or balance my books every single night however I do it all online. I get on my internet banking page and compare it to the night before to make sure it all adds up and if it doesn't then I figure out the mistake or call the bank.
1 person likes this
@limosonia1 (1559)
• United States
13 Feb 07
There not even teaching basic math anymore let alone how to balance your check book. Everythings turning into calculaters and computers to work everything out. The schools are putting out no self thinkers when it comes to math. I refuse to let my children use a calculater but they will thank me later when they can subtract in their head and not rely on a calculater to do it for them. It's funny because sometimes I will ask a question and the answer will be "well that's what the computer said" People first of all computers don't talk and second of all if you enter wrong information you will get wrong information. Is that actually that hard to figure out.
1 person likes this