In school we’re taught writing, reading, and arithmetic. We study history, science, sociology, technology and even the “birds and the bees.”
But, on graduation day, how much does the average American know about money?
The answer: pretty much nothing.
We may have taken an economics class or two. But we are never really taught how to handle our own finances, much less, even begin to understand the finances of our country.
Somehow that topic of money has been lumped into the category of things that parents are supposed to teach their children. But parents cannot teach things that they themselves, often times, don’t understand.
In the last few months we’ve seen a pretty severe melt-down of our credit markets. Yet, Average Joe has no clue what is going on or who is to blame. Everyone loves to point fingers at shady mortgage brokers, big mortgage companies, and politicians. Don’t get me wrong, they certainly didn’t help the situation, but the truth is, thousands of borrowers signed loan documents that a financially savvy person would never have signed.
Another consequence of ignorance is the fact that Americans have amassed an astounding $2,500,000,000,000 in consumer debt (This does not include real estate loans, source: Federal Reserve). This is essentially high-interest credit cards and car loans.
Finances are often stated as one of the most common causes of divorce. The consequences and costs of our financial ignorance is noticeable everywhere.
It’s time to get smart about our finances. It’s time we educate ourselves and our children, we owe it to the next generation.
What has been your experience? When you first moved out on your own, did you feel well equipped to handle your finances? Do you understand what is happening in our credit and stock markets right now? What types of things would you like to see this blog cover?