Personal Financial Literacy

goals, reality, options, willIn January of 2011, Worthington Board of Education Member, Marc Schare, wrote the following piece on Personal Financial Literacy on his blog.

At the January 21, 2011 work session of the Worthington Board of Education, we had an in-depth discussion about Personal Financial Literacy. At the heart of the discussion was whether or not Worthington should require a semester class in Personal Financial Literacy as a graduation requirement.

There is little doubt that the lack of personal financial literacy is a societal problem. Surveys show that kids graduating high school lack the skills and knowledge necessary to make good decisions with regard to personal finance at the very time in their lives when they need to start making those decisions.”

I learned Wednesday night that personal financial literacy is indeed a problem with at least one of my own children, and I’m thankful she’ll grow-up in a school district that helps her learn some of the important concepts she does not yet understand.  Please let me explain.

Wednesday night I was at the WEC in a Community Technology Team meeting (working to determine how technology bond money will be wisely used over the next six years).  In the meeting I glanced at my email and realized we had two emails from parents in my daughter’s kindergarten class.  Soon a third email arrived, then a fourth.  My curiosity was peaked, and I had to read them.  Yikes!

Each parent was writing to apologize because their child had come home from school with money my daughter had given their child.  They wanted us to know that they would return the money (in some cases five dollars or more) at school the next day.  I appreciated the emails but immediately wondered where my kindergarten daughter had gotten this money from, and why was she giving it out?

While still engaged in the technology meeting, I sent an emergency text for action to my wife.  Turns out, my daughter was given a large sum of money by a good friend from pre-school in another class.  (Why?  No one really fully understands the kindergarten brain, but it seems like it was a gift, and I’m fairly certain there was no shakedown.)  After receiving the money, instead of following sound financial literacy principles and saving a percentage for a rainy day, my daughter just freely gave all the money away to her classmates.  And, thus she came home and told mom and dad nothing about it.

A few years ago I wasn’t sold that financial literacy should be a graduation requirement in Worthington.  Today, I’m sold!

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