Where’s the financial education in schools?

When many students graduate from high school, the vast majority of them have no foundation, much less a concept, of the basics behind buying a house, buying a car or even establishing credit.

In this current economic mess, people can blame the government, banking institutions and lenders who pushed people into homes far from their affordable price ranges, but some of that blame should really be put back onto us. The average American has eyes bigger than their pocketbook and many just don’t understand the concept of credit or debt-to-income ratio. But is it their fault or are they leaving public school systems unable to handle day-to-day finances?

The average person who graduates high school is about 18 years old, and although many of them will move on to higher education institutions, a large percentage will not. In Kitsap County, we rely heavily on the military, government shipyards and independent trades for young graduates not moving on to college or trade schools. But as these young kids enter real world financial challenges, are they ready to handle it?

More emphasis needs to be placed on financial education at the high school level. The poor state of our economy can be attributed to bankers and lenders who greedily misdirected potential homeowners into loans they were not prepared to handle as well as the buyers who made those faulty decisions. But another major factor in this widespread crisis is the large amount of uneducated Americans diving right into the wrong financial choices.

One local financial institution is taking the lead everyone should follow. Kitsap Credit Union currently has branches located at Bremerton High School and South Kitsap High School. Students not only gain real world experience in a financial services workplace, but they also learn how to manage personal finances.

If more banks and public school systems took this same initiative, there would undoubtedly be far less Americans landing themselves in financial turmoil. It’s time to bring financial literacy to the forefront of education.

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