Debt | Life

10 Things We Should Be Taught In School

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Growing up there was a lot of things that we were taught in school that most people don’t even use anymore. Some examples are drafting, calculus, and trigonometry. I think that those things should be replaced with stuff that people actually use on a weekly basis. I have compiled a list of 10 things that people should be taught in school. People usually learn about these things, but by the time they do, it is often too late. These things will help people a lot. For some, it could even keep them outta debt.

How to Balance Your Books

When I first started working at Wells Fargo back in 2009, I was amazed at how many people didn’t balance their checking or savings account. A lot of people had no idea how much money they had in their accounts. People would continue to use their debit cards and just spend like they had a money tree. I used to have so many customers come in with overdraft fees. It was ridiculous. If we were taught in school how to balance our accounts, overdrafts would go down. People would also know what’s in their accounts and hopefully save more money.

Related Reading: Confessions of a Former Bank Teller

Loans

The only thing I can remember learning about loans was that you had to pay them back. I was never taught about the different types of loans or interest. Unfortunately, I was not the only one. I have heard constant stories about people taking out loans and now wondering how they owe so much. Hell, this happened to me. Learning this information in school could help a lot of people out.

I’ve been working in financial aid for four years. Believe it or not, some of the students that I’ve talked with didn’t even know that the loans had to be paid back. It’s sad. I share my student loan debt experience with them. Hopefully, it will persuade some students not to get into loan debt. Some students listen, while others don’t.

If you do have a lot of student loans, you may want to see if you can get them refinanced. Doing that can save you a lot of money. I refinanced my loans a few years ago and got a lower interest rate and a lower payment. Check out the company Earnest for more info.

Earnest

Taxes

This should have been the first thing on my list. A lot of people don’t understand taxes. I know I don’t. I’ve had problems with the IRS. I currently still owe them some money. Our tax laws are very detailed. There are so many loopholes and tax advantages out there. Most people don’t know them because of a lack of understanding. There should be some kind of tax curriculum available for kids starting in middle school.

Credit Cards

Credit Cards are a source of debt for a lot of people. Most folks don’t pay them off each month so they have to pay interest. Interest adds up. A couple of years ago, I had a credit card where I owed about $3400. The interest on it for one month was $76 bucks.  $76 was too much money to be spending on interest. In a year that would add up to be $912 worth of interest. That’s ridiculous. That money could go towards investments or savings, but it’s not. If we learned about credit cards in school I’m sure that a lot of people wouldn’t even use them. If they did use, they’d probably pay them off in the same month.

Buy Stuff You Can Afford

If they taught this in school, I’m not sure how many people would actually listen, but I put this one on the list anyway. This is common sense, but a lot of people would be in less debt if they only bought stuff they could afford.  Trying to keep up with the Joneses is keeping quite a few people in debt. If you only purchased things that you could afford, your finances would definitely be better.

Interview Skills

Here is another critical thing students don’t usually learn in schools. I’ve met several people at interviews, and their lack of proper interview manners and etiquette was very evident. The end product of attending a school is landing a job, making me wonder what schools are teaching. Of course, some people will naturally be better than others at interviews, but a few lessons with some practicals will make any student prepared for any interview. However, that is lacking in the educational sector today. Schools should teach students how to identify their weaknesses so that they can address them before interviews. An approach I suggest to help to achieve that is offering mock interviews.

Basic Skills For Survival

Although no one wants to be in a condition that requires these skills, they are still necessary for some unforeseen situations. Of course, you can solve calculus and quadratic equations, but how will that help you even stranded in an unknown location? So, schools should teach students how to fend for themselves and withstand any life or death situation that comes their way.

Mental and Physical Health

Mental health issues are a big one today. Ranging from ADHD to anxiety and depression, one in five people struggles with a mental health challenge. In the United States today, mental health is a hundred billion dollar industry because schools are not teaching us how to take care of ourselves. Even with the rise in living standards, we can see several successful individuals burning out or depressed to a point whereby they just want to stop living. The surge in anti-anxiety medications is also a significant pointer to how prevalent the issue is. Hence, educational institutions should take up the responsibility of implementing mental health-related topics in the curriculum.

Romantic Relationships And Dating

The majority of us will spend a significant part of our lives in a romantic relationship with someone. So, why are schools not teaching it? Many millennials grew up with Tinder or other dating apps. Those aren’t the best teachers. Thanks to personal development, some people develop emotional intelligence to prospect a possible partner, while some may not achieve that. The bottom line is that relationships and dating are vital aspects of living, and it should be taught in schools. Teaching this topic might be tricky on a large scale; therefore, educational institutions must update the curriculum alongside technology.

How To Make More Friends And Become More Sociable

Here is another aspect that everyone has left to chance, just throw the kids in a room, and they will figure it out. Although it works when younger, what is now the next line of action as they grow older. I still have some childhood friends who find it challenging to make new friends after school. And remember, your network is your net worth. Making friends is one of the major requirements for success; your ability to network and connect with other people will play a significant role in your success. That triggers the question that “why are schools not teaching that?”

These are 10 things that I think should be taught in school. I believe that people would be better individuals if this happened.

What are some other things that should be taught in school?

 

 

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39 Comments

  1. It seems like a simple idea doesn’t it. Teach kids the essentials of every day life. Interesting that the people in charge of teaching can’t see that.

    1. The people in charge just want to keep us in check, but that’s another post for another website 🙂

      1. You are so right about this!

  2. It’s funny because these subjects are not even taught in college. I had to send my kids to a special class that was offered by Well Fargo a few years ago to learn this stuff. School don’t specialize in learning things that you will be doing on a day to day basis. My accounting teacher to extra time to show us how to balance our check books….you would think that would be a part of accounting but its not. I definitely agree about these things being taught in school.

    1. At least you were smart enough to send your kids to the special class. A lot of people don’t even do that.

  3. I think your ideas of what should be taught in school is brilliant. These are the things that will effect their lives.

  4. I definitely agree with you that these subjects need to be taught in school. I think our schools especially colleges need to offer course and/or programs that can help students be smarter about money and learn everyday essentials for life. I actually learned how to balance my check book and write checks in my middle school home economics class.

  5. EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT and TIMELY/NEEDED POST!
    I would like to add a few things to the list.
    1) The difference between being a consumer and being a creator. (Basic business 101)
    and
    2) Coding- This kind of feeds into number one.
    I think, that if we don’t get a handle on these things, the digital divide as we know it will only get much worse.

    1. I agree 100% with this.

  6. Practical life skills always come in handy and, unfortunately, they are not usually taught in school. Most young people either learn them through experience or are lucky enough to have parents that give them enough independence to fly on their own. Then there are some who won’t take advise or listen and learn the hard way. Not always a bad way to learn, though 🙂

    1. Sometimes learning the hard way is actually good.

  7. I agree: Teaching for the real world , and they should also teach common sense too 🙂

  8. Couldn’t agree more. It’s amazing the important pieces that are left out of our education that we need for survival. I have worked with health professionals for well over ten years and I am amazed at how often they get out of school and are put in charge of a practice but may not even know how to apply for a credit card, much less use one wisely.

  9. What a perfectly sensible idea! Of course it won’t happen because the schools are primarily teaching to the tests that are required.

  10. This topic you have written about is really unique… I don’t think anyone can think so much widely as you have on what all should be taught in schools apart from normal studies… really great write-up….
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  11. I agree with you 100 percent. As Dave Ramsey says,” live Like no one else so later you can live Like no one else. ” I did not learn good money skills In school either. 🙂

  12. Christina says:

    Yes, I agree. I would also add “Creating a Savings Account”.

  13. Jason your 5 things we should be taught in school really gets to the heart of the matter. My view is that school should help students prepare for what they will meet in society, life and the workplace. Certainly parents should teach these things to their kids but not all parents know or fully understand. Well Said !

    1. Correct, Parents can’t teach what they don’t know themselves! Thank you for recognizing and highlighting this. Where I’m from, people are just in survival mode, trying to make it from one day to the next, until Financial Literacy comes last and learning the hard way comes first, by default, due to Generational Poverty and not knowing how to access Resources for Financial Literacy and just whom to seek Guidance from that they can trust.

  14. Dana Buckmir says:

    I agree that there are many things that students should learn in school that are not explicitly taught. I’m using your suggestions this Friday during my mentor session. I intend to start with the basics of writing out a check before going into balancing, but it’s a start. The good news is that students do get an introduction course that is an elective called, Financial Literacy. It tackles topics like budgeting and loans. I’ve seen the materials and they are very useful.

  15. Fully agree with this list! Seems so common sense, to teach our kids practical skills they will need in daily life as adults.

  16. Great thoughts Jason! Yes, I have been saying this since so long. Yes, schools need to teach these lessons. However, unfortunately, schools are designed to teach skills to become a good worker. There is no lesson on how to become a better person in life, let alone managing finances and other important aspects of life.

    Thanks for sharing!

    -Kumar

  17. I think these topics need to be lived and taught in the home. Too many times our kids are not taught how to live on their own and be financially stable.

  18. I am Mathematics teacher and I come across this question everyday , “Why we are studying trigonometry , calculus? Where we use equations in our daily life? ”

    I try to give so many examples but somewhere deep inside my heart I believe what you have written that we must teach those things that can benefit in our lives, as far trigonometry , geometry is concerned we must keep it to majors.
    I think we must emphasize on how be be a useful and good person in this world.

    I am sorry I am bit late this week and could not like comment in BHB.

  19. It would’ve been nice learning debt and taxes before leaving school. Actually it should be required along with dating related stuff.

  20. It’s crazy to think how much they don’t teach us about managing money in school. We are required to correctly pay taxes each year, but aren’t taught how to do it.

    I can only hope we see this change one day.

    1. I hope it changes, but I’ll bet against this happening.

  21. Hi Jason! This is a great topic for debate for educators. This are the topics adults would say “I wish they taught me that in college”. These are really great ideas that could be summed up in one course, that wouldn’t hurt wouldn’t it? I’ve always been an advocate of teaching financial management. Hopefully, we see a day where graduates are financially smarter.

  22. I agree to everything you said in this article. You come from the ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ school of thought and so do I. After reading that book I wondered how naive the schooling system is that they don’t feel that giving a financial education from a young age is of utmost importance. Thanks for sharing!

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