• Maggie Beal

Finance for the Future: What is Money Management?

Art by Jillian Mae Machacon

Money. It’s one of the most important things in modern society, right? As true as this might be, how much do we even know that much about it? According to the research, even adults aren’t even fully aware of the extent of knowledge required to be fluent in financial literacy and money management. If you’re like me, you want to be ready for life after high school, and you are conscious of the financial expectations that come with being an adult, such as paying taxes, understanding credit, dealing with debt, and much more. Hearing your parents discuss when the next bill has to be paid is a common occurrence in a household… at least it is in mine, and this has me wondering, what exactly do I need to know to be prepared for my own financial future?

In high school, we don’t have to worry too much about paying our own bills, taxes, etc. because we live with our parents who take care of that, but still there are some minute expenses that we need to be aware of, such as our senior dues, sports payments, and everyday spending for things like food, drinks, and an ERHS favorite, boba! High school is our very last chance to learn everything before we go off to college and the real world, and, unfortunately, most public schools including our own, don’t even have a class that teaches these important things! I for one would much rather be educated about how to deal with my money rather than being thrown into it headfirst and try to fend for myself. This might sound like an exaggeration, but there are so many people out there that are illiterate in all and anything money related, and that can be very dangerous in many circumstances. Learning chemistry is important… but realistically, how many of us are going to be chemists and scientists when we’re older? You need to do the basics of life before you can even think about pursuing a profession like that.

Let’s talk logistics. If we were to get a class that taught financial literacy and money management, who would teach it? That’s an easy answer to an easy question, really any adult or teacher who knows anything about life and money could teach a financial literacy class, and hopefully, all teachers at Eagle Rock do. Of course, there would have to be a set curriculum that would be approved by the school board and whatnot, but this class could quite easily be instituted and taught at our school! If in the event we do get a financial literacy and/or money management class implemented, how exactly could the class be taught to our students? That is, what kind of lessons could our teachers use to teach students? There are many ways that real-world problems could be applied in the classroom. For example, students could manage a certain amount of fake money presented in simulated real-world everyday expenses. They could set up a personal budget that supports their personal and financial goals, and they could even set up fake checking accounts.

In tenth grade for my personal project, I did research about this very topic, and why it is important to have a class like this at our school. In doing so, I gathered a lot of data and facts. I conducted a few surveys on my personal Instagram story asking my followers questions such as “Do you think you’re ready for life after high school?” to which 301 people viewed the story, 66% (which was 103 people) voted no, and 34% (54 people) voted yes. The second poll question I asked was, “are you well educated about the important things you need to know in life, like money managing, etc?” which was viewed by 296 people, 74% (109 people) voted no, while 26% (39 people) voted yes. And finally “If you aren’t ready for life, or aren’t well educated, would you want to be able to learn about these things in a class in high school?” viewed by 288 people, 9% (12 people) voted no, and 91% (127 people) voted yes. These poll questions and answers provided a lot of insight into just how little our youth knows about pressing issues like money management and financial literacy.

So what’s the next step from here? Well, if after reading this article you were inspired and looking forward to possibly having this financial literacy class, let’s work towards it! We can express to our teachers how much we want this class and let it be known! The more buzz around it, the more the teachers at Eagle Rock are likely to hear it and form their own opinions about it.