Editorial: Personal finance becomes requirement

By JoJo Brinkhoff
Reporter (Fall 2012)

Borrowing money has played an important role in the economy. The 1920s show us how it helped the economy prosper, while the 1930s show us how it led the US into the Great Depression. The problem, however, isn’t the money itself, the real problem is the lack of knowledge and self–control; and that is the reason why college students should be required to take a personal finance course.

According to the PNC finance independence survey of 2012, adults in their 20s have $45,000 in debt. Why? One reason is because 60% of adults between 18 and 34 don’t budget their money like they should, according to the NFCC finance literacy 2012 survey. And the reason those adults don’t budget is because they don’t quite understand the importance of managing their money to the last penny until it’s too late.

Of course it seems useless having to take a personal finance class in college after taking one in high school. However, according to the Council for Economic Education, only 13 states are required to have students take a personal finance class in high school. In other words, most students are not receiving enough instruction on managing their money wisely.

On top of this, high school students don’t learn everything they need to know. According to the results of the Jumpstart Coalition of Personal Finance Literacy survey done on high school seniors from 1997 to 2008, the seniors in 2008 scored 48.3% and less on 31 personal finance questions.

Although the survey is four years old, the results still prove my point. One class can only teach so much about managing money.

Okay, so it will take extra time and money for this one class. But is learning to plan your estate, understand insurance, know the different investmentsthat are available, and discern ownership worth the price and time?

Kali Bard, business administration division chair, hasreceived several positive feedbacks on the personal finance class from her students. Either for learning more about personal finance or just refreshing their memory, Bard testified that all of her students “…whether a traditional student or non traditional student sees a value in the course.”

If we want to see these numbers reduce in the future, then those students need to have a course in personal finance. Having college students take a personal finance course is, the best way because college is the last step before entering the world.