Money, Money, Everywhere and Not a Whit We Learn
Money, in some shape or form, affects almost every aspect of our lives.
From where we choose to study, the amount of debt we take on for this, what career path we choose to follow, how long we work for, our health, our relationships, our choice of investments and even our retirement — are all affected by money and the quality of our financial decisions.
Yet, and brace for this — we don’t have a single class in our education system that teaches us about how money works and how we can make smarter financial decisions.
It doesn’t matter where in the world you are, what you studied, or how much you paid for your education. The topic of money is conspicuous by its absence in most schools curriculum.
And just incase you’re tempted to think things have changed with the newfangled/ innovative/ cutting edge education system of the 21st century — they haven’t. It’s just more of the same — with loads of tech thrown in for good measure.
Even in the few countries where financial literacy is mandated by the government, it’s appearance on the curriculum is nominal, with no testing for students and no proper resources or training given to the teachers, who understandably then gloss over this crucial topic, or resort to teaching this as math based skill — which it is not.
Teens today are spending more money than any generation before them ever did. With unrestricted access to social media they are being served up ads that are deemed appropriate by the respective algorithm gods, who seem to know our teens better than we do, and can identify and very often influence, what they want to buy next.
On the one hand we have marketing companies spending tens of thousands of dollars training their staff in how to sell and on the other, our teens haven’t had any training whatsoever in making smart buying decisions.
How can this be deemed fair?
With easy ‘democratized’ access to day trading platforms, teenagers are suckered into get-rich-quick schemes while becoming dangerously addicted to the gambling-style interfaces and the ‘gamification’ these platforms unashamedly tout.
Not only do teenagers not understand the core principles of investing, they fritter away precious time and money dabbling in these speculative and high risk activities.
How can this be deemed legal?
Thanks to the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, our teens are going to graduate into some of the most economically challenging times in modern history. And they will do so with zero training in money.
How is this be deemed reasonable?
In the last decade, the whole job paradigm has changed irreversibly, with the disappearance of the pension secured job and the rise of gig economy.
Our teens will have to manage multiple jobs, maybe even multiple careers, without any safety net or government assured assistance.
With no knowledge or awareness about how money works and how they can make money their work for them, our teens are woefully unprepared for this.
While it may not be our legal responsibility, it is surely our ethical and moral responsibility to ensure that that teenagers get the education and support they need in order to deal intelligently with the financial aspects of their adult lives.