Kovar Capital: Financial literacy requirement for high school students

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Hey Taylor: What are your thoughts on the financial literacy requirement for high schoolers in Ohio?

Hey Carlos: I’m a big fan of the idea. We have to see how it’s implemented, but I always tell people the time to start teaching kids about money is yesterday. By high school, a lot of teens are already earning and spending without many concepts of how to save or invest.

Personally, I didn’t learn about financial responsibility until I graduated, and I had to do it the hard way—buy a car I couldn’t afford and spend the next several years trying to claw my way out of debt. My wife Megan (girlfriend at the time) fortunately had a better sense of budgeting and helped me come up with a spending plan that allowed me to get back in the black, but it would have been awesome if I knew more about interest and borrowing before all of that went down.

In my experience, kids want to learn practical things. They’re more interested in how Elon Musk became the richest man in the world than they are in how mitosis works. That’s not to say we should stop teaching biology, but mixing in some practical lessons will probably make the school day a little more enjoyable.

Again, implementation is a different question. Hopefully the law doesn’t leave school districts in Ohio scrambling to find qualified instructors for the course. I get excited about the idea because I enjoy teaching about money, but another teacher who’s already lesson planning for three different subjects might not feel the same.

In any event, this undertaking in Ohio could help other schools in other states adopt a similar curriculum. Even if there are some growing pains with this first trial, we can figure out ways to improve the classes and better equip our teachers to talk about financial literacy.

I’ll be interested to see what the subject matter is for these courses. We’ve been developing material to teach kids about money and their Money Personalities over at TheMoneyCouple.com in our Kids Korner, and it’s an interesting exercise to think about and look at finance through a child’s eyes. I hope the people who develop these curriculums take the time to make it a little more interesting than accounting 101 and give the students something they can really sink their teeth into.

So that’s my stance. Teach everyone about money as early as possible so they can avoid the mistakes their parents may have made. Thanks for the question!

Disclosure: Information presented is for educational purposes only and is not an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. To submit a question to be answered in this column, please send it via email to Question@GoFarWithKovar.com, or via USPS to Taylor Kovar, 415 S 1st St, Suite 300, Lufkin, TX 75901.

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