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Author: reallyalldone Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 6774  
Subject: Teaching personal finance Date: 6/17/2006 10:08 AM
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I used to merely disagree with the call for mandatory personal finance classes in K-12. Now I am adamantly opposed. What changed ? I just finished recent issues of 2 personal finance magazines and found that I disagreed with recommendations for young people in each of them.

There's now somehow an assumption that consumer debt is inevitable. I disagree. I also disagree with forcing my kids to use the money they earn/receive in specific ways. I believe my job was to inform, educate and encourage and I did all those things which resulted in my kids each choosing to do some things differently.

One magazine told young people to only use cash because it would help them stay out of debt.(this was couched as "listen to your mom"). My kids have been encouraged to carry as little cash as possible, use a rewards credit card and pay those bills in full every month. LBYM and saving for retirement goals have always been part of the dinner conversation as well at our house. My youngest has definitely leaned toward as little cash as possible after his wallet was lifted in high school - bye-bye cash but no prob on getting the credit card replaced or any charges covered by the credit card company.

Another place I disagree is I bear no responsibility for securing my children's retirement. I gave them a good start in life by ensuring they have no college debt. They each ended up with a car that ran. I encourage retirement savings by discussing the concept with them, matching dollar for dollar what they contribute to a Roth until college graduation and by offering to manage their Roths as long as they would like. I have no interest in just giving them retirement money or requiring them to put their money in retirement accounts.

There was an amazing article that said the wealth of my husband and me should be considered an asset of the whole family. Maybe someday but it's hard for me to see when that day will come other than when we're both dead and gone. It's ours to do with as we wish. Now I seriously doubt my kids would ever read an article like that and come to use with a plan for what to do with the family wealth.

Frankly, I have a hard time even remembering a time when any of our kids asked us for money. Maybe before they had a job somebody asked but even that is too long ago for me to remember. I remember pressing a loan on my daughter when she was in college and the Air Force was taking a ridiculously long time in reimbursing her and I didn't think she should have to carry their debt.

Now I seriously doubt there is anyone who would agree with all of the above and I don't think there should be. But neither would I want someone else teaching my kids personal finance. I did make sure they all had excellent math skill and I know they can always calculate the results of their financial choices.

rad
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