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Author: Ceberon Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 74854  
Subject: Retirement education? Date: 1/27/2005 5:04 PM
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I was trying to think of which board I should post this under, and I decided on Retirement investing, since that's the end goal of my discussion.

From speaking with co-workers, sisters, aunts, uncles, etc, it seems that a large portion of the population is very "investment dumb". Now that's not an insult towards them, since I will happily admit that I am "car dumb". The fact of the matter though is that the average level of understanding of how investing works is incredibly low.

I also realized that before college, I don't believe I received a single class/lesson in investing. My only finance course in high school was about balancing checkbooks, calculating tax on purchases, and other consumer related requirements.

So my thoughts were that high schools really should add some type of investing / money management class to their general curriculum. If you are viewing a high school as a place to get a general education, I certainly think some general class about money management would fit in. I would prefer that my children received a money management class, than US geography personally. I admit I forgot my geography pretty quickly, and what I remember isn't all that useful.

While I am unlikely to take this further, does anyone happen to have information on how public schools choose their curriculum? I assume there are certain subjects which are required by law, and others that are optional. I know a few people who work in school administration at the local high school, and I'm almost inspired enough to actually talk to them about this.

In either case, I thought I would bring up the issue with you people. Obviously the people posting here found out about investing in some manner. How did you find out about investing? Did a school class at some point in time give you the basics, did your parents/relatives help, or did you "stumble" upon it yourself?

For myself, I was already out of college and managed to stumble upon it on my own, so I just count myself lucky that I found out about investing in my 20's, rather than my 50's or 60's. I still have co-workers that don't contribute to their 401k's because "they're too young to worry about retirement yet"
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Author: reallyalldone Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44236 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/27/2005 5:09 PM
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As a parent, I don't want the schools doing financial education or else make it an elective. My 3 kids were taught Bout finances at home and at 17,21 and 23, they have started to save for retirement.

rad

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Author: Fuskie Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Ticker Guide SC1 Red Winner of the 2010 Rule Breakers Challenge Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44238 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/27/2005 5:12 PM
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In GA it will integrated into the high school curriculum state wide. I think it is about time because while the previous poster may have met their parental fiscal education responsibilities, the large majority spend as much time talking to their kids about saving as they do about the birds and the bees.

Fuskie
Who thinks it is partly because they do not know, or they do know but are not following their own advice and do not want to be called on it...

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Author: jbking Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44239 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/27/2005 5:14 PM
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Greetings,

While I am unlikely to take this further, does anyone happen to have information on how public schools choose their curriculum?

http://store.ncee.net/lei.html may have some information for you about economic education. IIRC, in the US, education is regulated at the state level and so I wonder if you could ask some in a local school board how they select courses.

About 15 years ago I remember signing up for a Geology course in my sophomore year in high school that since only 6 people wanted it, it wasn't offered and I had to choose another course. I mention this as this could be an issue you'd face in trying to get such a class going.

In either case, I thought I would bring up the issue with you people. Obviously the people posting here found out about investing in some manner. How did you find out about investing?

Mostly as something to do with the money I was saving back when I started working. I had been saving and thought there should be something I can do with this money other than leave it in a bank savings account. This lead me to learning about investing from various folks and introduced me to more than a few web sites and as this was the late 1990s, everything was in a boom about how this time it was different. Definitely an interesting time to learn about investing. There were also stock options from the dot com I worked at that also led to some learning about investing since I wanted to make sure I handled these appropiately. Needless to say those options expired worthless as my strike price was way above the current trading price of the stock when I left the company a few years back and wasn't in good financial shape.

Did a school class at some point in time give you the basics, did your parents/relatives help, or did you "stumble" upon it yourself?

Twas more of something I actively sought out in a sense since I had this nice growing bank account and did believe I should get more bang for the buck in a sense.

Regards,
JB

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Author: MurrayS Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44240 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/27/2005 5:18 PM
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As a parent, I don't want the schools doing financial education or else make it an elective. My 3 kids were taught Bout finances at home and at 17,21 and 23, they have started to save for retirement.

I'm not sure I follow your logic, you thought financial education was valuable enough to teach at home, yet not important enough for the school curriculum?

Personally, I've thought financial education (time value of money, effects of CC interest, basics of mortgages, etc.) is more valuable than trigonometry (how many truly use sine & cosine anyway). My daughter will definitely learn about this stuff before she leaves my care.

-murray


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Author: reallyalldone Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44241 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/27/2005 5:22 PM
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I'm not sure I follow your logic, you thought financial education was valuable enough to teach at home, yet not important enough for the school curriculum?

I suspect that what we taught our kids might not be the agreed upon curriculum for the school course. I am also of the opinion that kids learn best by example and I want us to be their example.

My kids, my choice. There are also other courses I'd rather them take at school than this.

Personally I learned it by reading books.

This isn't a popular view, I'm sure but it's mine as a parent and a taxpayer.

rad
P.S. Did I mention my 23 year old daughter bought a house last year ?


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Author: MurrayS Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44242 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/27/2005 5:24 PM
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Did I mention my 23 year old daughter bought a house last year ?

Got me beat! I bought my first house when I was 25.

Congratulations!

-murray

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Author: 2gifts Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44243 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/27/2005 5:35 PM
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I'm not sure I follow your logic, you thought financial education was valuable enough to teach at home, yet not important enough for the school curriculum?


But the magic question is where does the funding for such additional coursework come from? Today, the Federal government has an entire host of mandates, mostly unfunded, some of which are generally grouped under the umbrella of No Child Left Behind. And they keep adding more and more mandates and continue to provide less and less funding. Then, of course, there are the mandates provided by each state.

In MA, the state tells us what the curriculum is with very little room left for electives of any sort. The funding formula here for what the state requires is so skewed that the state recently lost a lawsuit about regarding its inability to live up to its own legislation and fund the education that they require. I don't know yet what that will do to our funding, but I bet it still won't meet the level needed to do the mandates they require.

In addition, I agree with reallyalldone that I am not convinced that this is the best subject for the schools to teach, though I can be convinced it could be an elective provided that the funding is also put into it and not have yet another unfunded mandate. In fact, I saw an announcement this week from the MA DOE that they have partnered with the MA Office for Consumer Affairs in providing what they call a free program to teach finances to high school students. Being well-acquainted, however, with what MA considers to be 'free' [it usually translates to not costing the state a penny but all being passed on to the districts/municipalities], I am dying to see what they've come up with.

However, I find that the general basics are already taught in school. They still teach percentages and how those can compound. They teach how to read graphs and understand economics data. They teach quite a lot that should provide the foundation for a child to be able to have some reasonable understanding of how things like credit card interest and mortgages work.

My 13-year-old twins can already tell you how compound interest works. They know what stocks are and how they can help you to grow your nest egg. They have brokerage accounts, Roth IRA's, DRP's, and savings accounts. We will move on to checking accounts and credit cards as they get older.

But I do still consider financial education to be much more something that belongs to the parents to be teaching their children just as with most of the life skills they need to be out on their own, quite a few of which are not taught in schools nor do I expect them to be. Things like cleaning their rooms, doing their laundry, mowing the lawn, shoveling the snow, doing the dishes, cooking, and managing their own finances.

So no, I do not believe that this should be required in school, and I am most certainly not willing to give up core subjects and other programs to get it in there.

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Author: MurrayS Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44245 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/27/2005 5:43 PM
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In MA, the state tells us what the curriculum is with very little room left for electives of any sort

My school taught trigonometry. Can you honestly tell me that trigonometry is more useful/important than finances?!? FWIW, my engineering education covered time value of money in no less than FIVE courses.

I think it should be taught as part of the math curriculum, the basics could be covered in just a couple weeks IMHO.

-murray


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Author: yobria Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44248 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/27/2005 6:29 PM
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Why do so many investors have such poor judgment? When you think about it the answer is obvious: lack of education. We spend umpteen years in school without a single hour of instruction on financial matters. Our brains are stuffed with calculus and Chaucer, but not capital gains. We emerge as adults able to graph cosine waves and answer Jeopardy trivia, but unable to pay our credit card bills.

Just as children who aren't formally taught sex education pick it up from peers through locker room hearsay and whispered half truths, we learn about investing piecemeal via the media, our friends and our family. An uncle passes on a hot stock tip; your financial advisor talks up a new type of annuity; a Newsweek columnist suggests you invest in bonds. A few financial whizzes with the time and desire to educate themselves manage to wind up with reasonable financial planning strategies. But most of us do not.

Financial ignorance is a silent disease. No internet ad will note the dollar amount you wasted this year through misinvesting. St. Peter will not announce what you could have been worth as you pass through the Pearly Gates. You'll just look back one day and wonder how you could have so little wealth after working so hard for so long.


http://www.esiguide.com/invest/why_invest.htm

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Author: RV2000 Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44250 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/27/2005 7:08 PM
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.... I am not convinced that this is the best subject for the schools to teach, though I can be convinced it could be an elective provided that the funding is also put into it and not have yet another unfunded mandate.

I admit to being absolutely dumbfounded by this discussion!

We all seem to agree that we need to teach our own kids the "big picture".....agree that they already learn the underlying math principles (compounded interest and such).....but we don't think a couple of weeks bringing the basic principles together into meaningful correlation relative to lifelong financial security is valuable in the public schools?

What the heck am I missing here?!?

Our (social) security net will be significantly different when today's highschoolers want to retire. How do we sleep with a clear conscience if we don't provide them the basic aggregate concepts of investing when they need it most.....when they are young? Not what to do, but how it all comes together.

Perhaps I need to go back and reread this thread.....

Rick

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Author: salecat Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44251 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/27/2005 7:40 PM
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I am also of the opinion that kids learn best by example and I want us to be their example..

Learning by example works both ways. I'm sure most of the people on this board are good examples for their kids. My parents had problems with their finances, much of it their own doing. Their financial problems sometimes became their children's problems.

I decided I wasn't going to live like that so I started saving as a child. I've tried to teach my children about financial responsibility. They may not yet have fincancial and investing savvy (freshman & junior in college), but they know how much money they have and they're careful about how they spend it.

Do I want schools teaching our children about finances? I don't know that I would want a whole semester or year-long class devoted to it. But there are certainly a lot of financially irresponsible parents out there raising the next generation of adults. Planting some seeds of financial responsibility in the schools in my opinion would be a good thing.

My $.02.

Salecat

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Author: JAFO31 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44252 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/27/2005 8:01 PM
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reallyalldone:

<<<<I'm not sure I follow your logic, you thought financial education was valuable enough to teach at home, yet not important enough for the school curriculum?>>>>

"I suspect that what we taught our kids might not be the agreed upon curriculum for the school course."

The people who would be most interested deermining the content, and the most willing to donate money to control it, would be the Wise (and not the Foolish).

Good money management skills are not very exciting. Pay yourself first. Minimize expenses. Minimize use of credit.

Charles Dickens sometime durnig the 19th century wrote:

"Annual income 20 pounds, annual expenditure 19.6... Result happiness.
Annual income 20 pounds, annual expenditure 20.06... Result misery."

That covers LBYM

"Never spend your money before you have it."

Thomas Jefferson - that covers credit

"If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as getting."

Benjamin Franklin - saving and investing

All from http://utahreach.org/ppay/quotes.htm

"Neither a borrower nor lender be. For loan oft loses both itself and friend."

W. Shakespeare in Hamlet http://www.iabusnet.org/templates/main/articleprint.cfm?ID=721

It does not take long to teach the basics. After that, there is much dispute about the "best" methods and much depends upon personal risk tolerances and personal likes and dislikes.

Regards, JAFO



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Author: yobria Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44253 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/27/2005 8:11 PM
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And one more quote from Ben Franklin:

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest"

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Author: 2gifts Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44255 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/27/2005 10:52 PM
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What the heck am I missing here?!?


A way to fund it.

Seriously, if you want to make a change to any school curriculum, go down to your School Committee meeting [I just left ours of which I am a part] and listen to what they have to fund based on the mandates from the state and federal government. Then watch all the taxpayers cringe because the required increase in school budget simply to teach the additional students in the district at the exact same level as today will require a tax override that the overburdened taxpayers already cannot afford.

So once again I will ask. Where does the money come from for this? Where does the time in the school day and curriculum come from to add this?

I'm accustomed to people asking for things to be added, but no one ever seems willing to actually foot the bill.

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Author: yobria Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44257 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/27/2005 11:49 PM
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So once again I will ask. Where does the money come from for this?

You cut something less important.

It would take about 30-40 hours of classroom instruction to teach the basics of debt, saving, investing, etc. That's about how much time the average kid spends studying rocks in Earth Science class. So we swap rocks for stocks ("Rocks for Stocks"...catchy huh?).

20 years later, the average person doesn't know basalt from granite. But they're all set financially- their kids have good lives, our national savings rate goes up, crime goes down as street gangs become investment clubs...ok maybe that's a stretch.

Maybe more creative forms of education are needed. How about requiring all hotels to have a simple investment book in every room? Then you're there with the kids in the summer and have some free time and that's what you end up reading. Who wants to thumb through the Bible on vacation anyway?

Nick

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Author: qaddy Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44258 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/27/2005 11:59 PM
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>> Maybe more creative forms of education are needed.

Sesame Street topic perhaps? Those fuzzy muppets should be nearing retirement age by now.


qaddy

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Author: yobria Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44259 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/28/2005 12:29 AM
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Sesame Street topic perhaps? Those fuzzy muppets should be nearing retirement age by now.

Yes!

Big Bird: Do you know why Mr. Hooper had to work in the grocery store until the day he died?

Group of Kids (in unison): He didn't max out his Roth IRA!


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Author: fredinseoul Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44262 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/28/2005 1:37 AM
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So once again I will ask. Where does the money come from for this?

You cut something less important.


Nick,

I happen to agree that this is something that should be taught to people. I haven't figured out how, yet.

However, what is less important? Boy, is that an explosion waiting to happen. As I look at school systems, there is a lot of things that are being taught, that I don't feel should be. However, someone thought that the school should teach those topics. So, how are you going to decide what is less important? I feel that anything other than Math, Science, History, and English grammar/writing is very much a waste. Have you seen a math book lately? At least in grades 3-6, they do projects, like coloring and finding matches and such, but very little math is done. By this I mean, adding numbers together often, to learn the basic skills of math. Other people would argue with me.

fredinseoul


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Author: MurrayS Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44266 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/28/2005 9:25 AM
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There's a related discussion on the LBYM board on the effects of teaching a young individual the basics of time value of money and how it applies to IRA's: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=21977568&sort=whole

30 minutes of "teaching" this person could change his life. Explain to me why these basics couldn't be fit into math class?!?

-murray

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Author: reallyalldone Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44268 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/28/2005 10:20 AM
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30 minutes of "teaching" this person could change his life. Explain to me why these basics couldn't be fit into math class?!?

What's been your experience with your children ? Have you shared your expertise with boy scouts or girl scouts in badge work ? How about at a Boys' or Girls' Club ?

rad


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Author: MurrayS Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44269 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/28/2005 10:28 AM
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What's been your experience with your children ?

My daughter is only 4 so it's not sinking in yet :) I've thought of "volunteering” my time to her school or other clubs in the future since I've got a plan to “retire” in 10-12 years.

Has anybody else had experience with this?

-murray


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Author: reallyalldone Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44271 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/28/2005 10:33 AM
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Has anybody else had experience with this?

I've done badge work with boy and girl scouts. I also did a workshop for faculty & staff at a community college which led to me doing a similar workshop for a group of workforce trainees.

rad


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Author: 2gifts Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44274 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/28/2005 11:25 AM
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My daughter is only 4 so it's not sinking in yet :) I've thought of "volunteering” my time to her school or other clubs in the future since I've got a plan to “retire” in 10-12 years.

Has anybody else had experience with this?


My kids already owned stock by that age, and when we went to McDonald's, they'd ask things like how much of it they owned. It is not too early for you to start with such basic concepts, and then expand as she gets older.

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts both have badges dealing with personal finances. I've done the Girl Scout one, and as I recall, it covered a reasonable amount of material, but we didn't have to do much with it because my daughter already had done most of that already. My son is now working on the Family Member Badge, or whatever they call it, for Boy Scouts, and one of the requirements is a section on personal finances, but again, that will be a piece of cake for him.

I know that they did talk about compound interest in their English class, of all places, this year [my kids are in the 8th grade], and my DD was the only one who knew what it was. I understand she gave a great explanation to her class. Seems her teacher thought that one of her parents must be an accountant, but that's not the case. We are just very interested if finances, and my kids are doing quite well managing their own at this age.

Maybe, though, it is because my kids have been learning and progressing all along that I prefer the parents to be teaching such things because it is such a basic life skill. But there are other ways avaiable as well such as through Scouts or even your local bank. Our credit union has all sorts of programs for children to teach them about basic finances. They also offer little seminars on mortgages and car loans and how to manage your own finances that seem to be worthwhile judging from the material I have seen.

But if you are interested, I think you could easily volunteer your time for financial training for something like Scouts or whatever is popular in your area.

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Author: Ceberon Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44278 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/28/2005 12:30 PM
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As an update, I researched a bit the school district I went to high school at. I found the education board website, and also managed to find out who the current chair of the curriculum board, who also happened to be the assistant superintendant of education.

In either case, with those fancy titles, I thought they were worthy of an e-mail, I so I briefly explained my purpose for writing, the lack of education that graduates from their schools have (and I would know, since I am a graduate), and a proposal for a class that could teach basic money management along with investing basics.

The person actually wrote back and we exchanged a few emails. They said that they already had a consumer education class, but that more information may be valuable. I said that I remembered the consumer education class, but that it was geared towards consumers. It seemed to teach how to balance a checkbook, write checks, calculate taxes, but nothing about saving money and not being a consumer.

It ended up that he said their next curriculum meeting is coming up very soon, so he will be printing out my e-mail and will present it to the other board members.

If nothing else, at least I tried :)

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Author: MurrayS Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44279 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/28/2005 12:38 PM
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If nothing else, at least I tried :)

As I like to say, complaining about something you can do something about is a waste of time. Complaining about something that you can't do something about is a waste of spirit.

-murray (wastes spirit more than I should :)


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Author: 2gifts Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44280 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/28/2005 12:55 PM
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It ended up that he said their next curriculum meeting is coming up very soon, so he will be printing out my e-mail and will present it to the other board members.



By law, these are public meetings, so you might want to attend and let him know that you will be there to address your suggestion. Ask that you be put on the agenda. They don't have to do it, but at least you will have done what you can to effect some change.

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Author: jesserivera67 Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44300 of 74854
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/29/2005 10:43 AM
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Sex education. Do you remember the controversy of teaching this in schools and how parents thought this should be taught at home? Yet, no one was doing it, and we were finding that teen pregnancies and STD's were off the charts. AIDS brought an entirely new threat to our children. Through many difficult meetings it was approved. I believe this has had a very positive impact.

I'm fairly young and remember my sex education teacher, Mrs. Vanilla. She would say, "You can call me Mrs. Chocolate or Mrs. Strawberry." She was a ton of fun and a class everyone looked forward to. Yes very embarrassing at times but still take with me some of the learnings from it. I was 12 years old.

The average American is saving 1% of their income...isn't it about time we do something about it?



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