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Why Financial Literacy Is Important for Students

September 2023



Article by Herman Barnes

Article by Herman Barnes

Northeastern's Human Services program graduate, Herman Barnes contributes to our blog pro bono. He sees his mission in helping students prepare for academic careers by providing them with experience and skill-based background required for successful studying and research.

Financial literacy is a critical life skill, yet most school curriculums do not adequately teach money management concepts. This leaves many students unprepared to make intelligent financial decisions as adults. Integrating financial education into schools is crucial to set up students for lifelong financial health and stability.

Individuals are vulnerable to debt, overspending, and making unwise investment choices without proper money management knowledge. Financial mistakes made early in life can take years to recover from. Equipping students with financial literacy helps them avoid pitfalls and take control of their economic futures. While a professional essay writer can compose an essay on fiscal responsibility, students need hands-on experience with budgeting, investing, and managing credit to thrive financially.

Budgeting and Saving Fundamentals

One of the most essential skills is learning how to budget based on income and expenses. Students need to understand core concepts like balancing spending within the limits of one’s earnings. They should track their cash flow and identify where money leaks out unnecessarily.

Saving is also a vital habit to engrain early. Students must understand the importance of saving a portion of their income instead of spending it all. Educators can explain how saving builds wealth over time through the power of compound interest. Games and activities can make budgeting and saving engaging.

The Basics of Banking and Credit

Banking and credit are unfamiliar concepts to many students. Lessons should cover opening checking and savings accounts, managing balances, writing checks, and avoiding fees. Understanding how banks work demystifies the financial system.

With credit cards so prevalent, students also need to comprehend credit reports, scores, and the impact of debt. Curriculums must explain wise credit usage versus the risks of poor borrowing habits. Deceptive marketing practices by card issuers and lenders that target youth also require examination.

Navigating Loans and Other Debt

From student loans to auto financing, young adults frequently encounter major borrowing decisions early on. But without context on how interest accumulates on loans, students may accept whatever terms are offered.

Financial education should walk through how to evaluate loan offers, calculate total repayment costs, and assess personal budget impact. Lessons on scholarship applications, loan forgiveness programs, and avoiding predatory lenders empower students with knowledge.

Introduction to Investing

While investing seems complicated, students benefit from learning foundational concepts. Even basic knowledge about compound growth, market risk, asset types, and diversification strategies makes investing less intimidating.

Educators can demystify key terms through relatable examples. Simulations can provide practice in identifying prudent investments suitable for different life stages. Debunking perceptions that investing is only for the wealthy encourages financial inclusion.

Taxes and Other Financial Responsibilities

Taxes, insurance, and estate planning are inevitable financial responsibilities. But many students lack context on how these systems function and why they matter. Curriculums should provide overviews of concepts students will soon encounter as adults.

For taxes, lessons can explain taxation purposes, types of taxes, and how rates are calculated. Discussing standard deductions and exemptions also facilitates practical understanding. Introducing insurance principles lays the groundwork for comparing policies down the road.

Avoiding Scams and Bad Financial Advice

Inexperienced youth are highly susceptible to financial scams promising quick returns. Students need skills to identify teaser rates, pressure sales tactics, get-rich-quick schemes, and other predatory practices targeting the financially illiterate.

Lessons should differentiate regulated financial institutions from shady operators. Students can learn to carefully vet financial offerings and consult objective experts like non-profit credit counseling when uncertain.

Financial Literacy Builds Confidence and Success

Engaging financial literacy instruction through games, projects, and other dynamic teaching methods can make these concepts stick. Graduates who understand money management can better achieve dreams like pursuing careers, buying homes, and providing for families.

Financial education gives young people the confidence to navigate adulthood. Equipping students with money skills, they will use daily allows them to build the futures they aspire to.

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