Beyond the Classroom Learning Lessons for Life in High School

If I could choose any high school course that is not currently mandatory and make it mandatory, it would be Managing Your Money. I believe that the mentality of the average modern-day American is “let’s spend above our means and pay it off later.” What’s worse is, our society encourages this behavior. Credit card companies tell Americans everyday “don’t wait on it, don’t save for it, have it now, and worry about the costs later.” I personally believe the whole concept of credit cards is ridiculous. However, I have been taught, if you don’t have the money at the time, then don’t spend it. My thought on the matter is, how can one enjoy their new owned object if they spend the next year stressing over the payments. Unfortunately, the majority of kids don’t share the same thought because they aren’t taught money managing skills as teenagers so when they get out into the real world they put a down payment on a car, or a house, and then become stressed or even depressed when they find that they cannot pay the monthly bill. One memory that sticks with me is a presentation given to my eighth grade class about money. The presenter asked the class, “How many of you would like to make 1,800 dollars a month as an adult?” The majority of the class, save a few, raised their hands, all the while “oohing” and “awwing” about how amazing that would be. The presenter went on to show the class how far $1,800 can go in a month. After paying the housing expense, car payment, utilities costs, insurance bill, and for groceries, there wasn’t much left of the $1,800. The kids in my class sat amazed. That is why I believe Managing Your Money should be a mandatory class. There are too many young adults that have found and will find a rude awakening when they start supporting themselves. So many people, young and old alike, believe if you make a lot of money as an adult then you’ll never have to worry about “managing your money.” However, if a person has ! an income of $100,000 dollars a year and spends all of their income, t hey are, obviously, left with nothing. On the other hand if a person makes 20,000 annually and saves around 15%, then they will end up with about $3,000 saved up at the end of the year. Fast forward years later, the person who only made $20,000 a year has more money saved than the person with the higher income. As my dad always taught me, it is not what you make, it Is what you spend. If every teenager was exposed to this information through a mandatory class, then I believe there would be less debt and in result less stress in this country. With a lower stress level, I think people would be calmer and happier which could lead to many countrywide improvements.