Will New Finance Curriculum In Schools Heal Georgia’s Financial Woes?

by Andrea

bankruptcy, credit cards and gift cards, monthly bills and utilities

stressing-over-debts-paying-bills.jpgGeorgia ranked second this year in personal bankruptcies.

In the land of McMansions, gated communities, and Hummer-driving mama’s, it’s no wonder that the state’s residents have serious financial problems.

Georgia educators, however, think they can fix this by adding financial literacy and financial planning to the state’s high school curriculum.

To make room for this, they are removing about 20% of current social studies lessons and replacing them with economics. They are also including finance lessons in math classes.

View details here.

Will It Work?
While this is a great idea, I have to wonder if this change is too little, too late. I fear that no amount of financial teaching will undo the fact that students learn how to handle and misuse money by watching their parents. In fact, these students already have their financial mindset cemented by middle school.

Sure, some kids will watch their parents make serious mistakes and then pay the price, and learn something from the experience. (That’s how I learned.) But kids riding around in Hummers and sleeping in what would amount to a master bedroom never realize just how much their parents’ budget is stretched. This is why they end up repeating the same mistakes.

I am afraid that until parents learn the dangers of excess credit and buying what they cannot afford, children are doomed to repeat the sins of their parents. The only true way to teach children to avoid financial disaster later in life is for parents to sit at the table with them, checkbooks in hand, and show them how to make decisions based on income.

In being transparent with their kids, parents may learn something valuable as well. I know some of the best advice I ever got regarding credit came in the form of a pointed question from a 5-year-old.