No. of Recommendations: 33
Basic accounting ability is something we should expect of all citizens, same as understanding US history, our legal system, geography, math, reading, etc.

I disagree that it is basic accounting that people need to understand. Basic accounting is all about debits, credits, liabilities and assets. I think people need to understand basic math, and last time I checked, most schools have taught all you really need to know for finances by about the 5th grade. By that point, the kids have been taught addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and percentage. That is about all you need to be able to manage your finances.

- To balance a checkbook, you need to understand addition and subtraction.
- To figure out tips, you need to understand percentage.
- To figure out credit card, mortgages, or car loans, you need to be able to do percentages and addition.

Really, how much math skill beyond what is taught in 5th grade is needed to understand that if you don't pay off your credit card in full each month, then that line called 'interest' is added to your bill, and you owe more than you had initially spent? Even if you don't understand the percentages and how to do the calculations, it's pretty easy to see that money is being added to your bill as interest.

I think the issue has much more to do with people wanting everything now, and not wanting to wait to get it. I don't know about you, but whenever I have been car shopping, for instance, the first thing the sales rep asks me is what I want my monthly payments to be, and he will stretch out that term to whatever it has to be to meet some number that I give him. The problem is that the monthly payments are irrelevant to me. I am interested in the total cost of the car, and stretching out monthly payments generally means that I will end up paying more for the car at the end of the term.

But people seem to measure 'affordability' in terms of if they can make the payment each month. I measure 'affordability' in terms of if I have the money right now [not next week when I get paid], and if I can spend that money on something without affecting my other goals.

No, it is not more or different math that people need. It is the ability to actually wait to save up the money to buy something. It is delayed gratification that people need to be able to handle instead of the instant gratification that I think is driving a lot of those bad decisions.

I think saying that we need more or different math classes is just giving folks an excuse. They're already getting taught all the basic skills they need. They just need to actually use them with a little common sense and patience.
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