Opinion: More Life Skills Should Be Taught in High Schools & Universities
Do you think that you've learned enough life skills in high school or college? There are so many skills to learn. In this article, I'll focus mostly on money skills.
Money Management At Its Worst
Have you ever heard of lotto winners that blast their money away?
That goes to show that being "rich" doesn't always solve problems.
It also shows that there's something missing in how we were programmed since our childhood.
Some kids are lucky to get financial education at an early age.
However, for the vast majority of us, learning about money, it's importance, and our ability to generate it outside of jobs, is rarely discussed in higher education.
It's something that's expected from our parents. Here in California, over 91 percent of the voters want life skills to be included in our school system.
With so much time and money spent on education, don't you think that teachers should at least chat about it for 1 hour between K-12? Just 1 hour. Of course, more hours would have been better. Just hope you got my point.
If you've received this type of education, consider yourself lucky.
My First Class About Money
Besides the typical match courses, my first class about money was accounting. I took this course as an elective in middle school.
In that class, I learned about depositing money into the bank, writing checks, and balancing my checkbook.
There were other money principles that were taught, but as far as life skills go, that was the gist of it.
I'm not blaming my 7th grade teacher because I didn't learn enough life skills, nor am I blaming him for such a dated topic. Who uses checkbooks nowadays. Well, I'm sure some people do. I just haven't used one in over a decade.
Learning About Economics
In high school, I took an economics class. By this time, I had already taken a Precalculus class. I'm not going to talk about that much. Purely academic math with not much focus on the kind of stuff that makes a difference in most of my life.
So in economics, we learned about macro and microeconomics. I learned about supply and demand. Unfortunately, I didn't learn much about investing in stocks. Some of my classmates had another teacher, and he had fantasy stock investing competitions. Kudos to him for helping out some of my classmates.
Financial Courses For My Engineering Program
As an engineering major, I had to take calculus, differential equations, advanced engineering mathematics, some computer programming courses, and several engineering courses where I had to apply geometry and differential equations.
While I could use all of those skills to solve some of my life-financial problems, there weren't any courses that taught me how to manage my money, or make more money outside the typical job scenarios.
Financial Courses Through My MBA Program
I had taken some pre-req's like a statistics course, then a few graduate-level economics courses, a graduate-level accounting course, and many other business courses. I learned a great deal about international business, business law, analyzing stocks, and marketing.
When it comes to skills that I could have applied in my life, I guess I could have put the pieces to figure out my personal finances, but I still didn't learn practical skills for my own life.
While I did learn about evaluating companies, their balance sheets, and other significant corporate data, there wasn't a focus on retiring early, buying real estate, or even something as foundational as the Rule of 72.
While studying about marketing, there wasn't much focus on the specifics. I didn't learn about the process of effectively doing social media or even running a direct response marketing campaign.
While I did write essays on social media and other online marketing methods, I based those on public articles and videos that I could use as references. There's so much that a typical student can't find in marketing space if they're just looking at free resources.
A lot of what I learned was medium-to-high level information. Even if I wanted to start my own business with all of this education, all of this wasn't enough. However, if I wanted to jump into a business-related job, I could talk the talk and utilize the resources at a company, and in my head, to fulfill my job duties.
What Needs to Change?
First, I'm not saying that all of this education sucks. It just needs to be improved. Why? Because our lives are more important than just getting a job. Being able to create a sustainable financial future is extremely critical for us as individuals, but that focus is neglected in traditional education.
Second, personal finance courses shouldn't be electives, that should be required for all students, even at the high school level.
Third, I wish there were more options for entrepreneurs. While many people get a degree to have more employment options, there aren't many academic options for people that want to start their own businesses.
These are just some ideas off the top of my head.
Thanks for checking out this article. While I do have some articles about finance and real estate investing on this site, my main focus is to help ordinary people make money through their own businesses. If that's of interest to you, make sure that you click here to learn more.