Whenever I have a chance to get back to Miami I love nothing more than catching up with my good friend Patrick Dwyer financial advisor and someone who I have known for over 40 years. Last week we were sat in a bar in Miami and given that we are both now parents the conversation shifted to education. We both agreed that the education system as it is does not prepare our kids properly for real life and in Patrick’s view, more must be taught in schools about finance. Of course as a financial advisor Patrick sees first hand just how unprepared many people are for the real world, and here is why we both agreed that finance should be more heavily focussed on in schools.
No matter whether you leave school to become a doctor, a lawyer, a road-sweeper or a stay-at-home parent, you will have to manage your own finances. In spite of this however schools simply do not teach their students about ways in which they need to manage their finances. Nobody is taught about credit and debts, nobody is shown how to put together a budget or a savings plan and schools don’t talk about things like filing taxes, insurances and retirement plans. This however is critical knowledge that anyone outside of education needs to have, and we must arm our kids with more knowledge about personal finances. With more people in debt than ever before and with so many people living from paycheck to paycheck, we can greatly help these people by offering them more education before it gets too late. Lifting people out of financial difficulty is not just about being reactive, we must be proactive as well.
Even students who study business are not taught how to put together their own business and of course the students that don’t study business have even less chance of learning about this world. Studying business should be mandatory and during these lessons we must teach kids about running their own business and how to make a success of it, rather than simply teaching them about how business works on a general basis. It has never been easier to set up a business than right now and there are more being set up year on year than ever before. Sadly however, as quickly as a new business is set up, another fails and one in two businesses won’t even end up making money. These are worrying statistics and whilst we know that not all businesses will find the success that they are looking for, better education can minimize these figures. We have to educate our children in order to buck this trend.
What would you change about education given the chance, do you agree with us that there should be more focus on finance or is there something else that you would prefer to improve?