Stocks are great to know about, yes, but even BETTER would be basic financial management. Who gets right out of high school and starts investing before landing their first job/credit card/own apartment? I know people do it, I just don’t see the logic (although I’d admit it does seem more fun).
Check out this comment by girlwithredballoon on an older post of mine:
“You know, I took Personal Finance in high school, but they didn’t teach anything about credit cards, compounding interest, different types of student loans – none of that! They taught us how to write checks, and then we had to play a stock market game where we chose companies to invest in. I know investing is important but knowing the dangers of credit cards ahead of time may have helped me to avoid them in college!”
Exactly! I learned how to write checks and balance a checkbook in Senior year too, but that was about it. There was no mention of 401k, IRAs (were they around in the 90’s?), credit cards, or just plain saving. But of course we had to play those stock investing games! God forbid we leave school without doubling up our FAKE money.
Maybe I’m naive, but I just don’t see how investing in individual stocks should come before the main pillars of personal finance. Think about it. Say a student triples his/her money in the “fake” market and then thinks he/she can make it big in real life and tries to out game it all? The odds are against them, especially if they think they can do it again in the 3-4 months allotted like in class. They then lose a chunk of their money and end up walking away thinking investing isn’t for them.
Only INVESTING isn’t about just individual stocks! It can be a main ingredient, but there’s plenty of other places you can put your money – CDs, bonds, mutual funds, target-date funds, treasury bills, etc etc. Stocks can do wonders for your portfolio (I love ’em to death!) but you should have a grasp on the rest of the areas before jumping in and playing.
You teach a kid how to save 10% of all their income, or pay their debt off on-time, and it’s a whole new ball game! Not as fun to teach I’m sure, but it’ll stick with them MUCH longer than some crazy stock game. Am I right? Am I missing something here?
PS: Some of my favorite tools:
|Personal Capital (FREE) -- If you’re looking for a robust financial tracker, Personal Capital is the way to go! They’re like Mint, but on steroids and have much better tools for investment and net worth tracking. // Full review|
|Digit (FREE) -- A super easy (and automated) way to save. Every day Digit analyzes your income and expenses and will push money aside for you any time it sees extra sitting there. I've saved over $4,000 myself using them so far! // Full review|
|Acorns -- Having trouble finding money to invest? Check out Acorns – they round up all your transactions to the nearest $1.00 and drops the difference into an investment portfolio for you. Easy way to start investing! // Full review|