By Staff Reporter
How many newspaper articles have we read about children who blew their inheritance money or who fell for quick “get rich” schemes and have been burned? Again, how many times have we seen an employee who worked heroically for 30+ years and retired, only to squander their pension payouts and suffer in old age? Better yet, how many young people today are living paycheck to paycheck with bills piling up, credit cards here, overdrafts there, revolving loans, and the list goes on? The most common explanation is that many heirs, the elderly, and even new workers are inexperienced with money. A million bucks can be put into a lot of good. However, once it is spent irresponsibly, it can no longer provide income.
Isn’t it incredible that we all graduated from high school with knowledge of mathematics, the scientific table, and human anatomy but not of how to open a bank account, submit a tax return, understand the value of having burial insurance, or even something as basic as budgeting and saving?
Children growing up are not taught basic money management habits or skills in the current educational system. The majority of young individuals will leave college or launch new firms without any financial backing. Since we as a culture lack basic financial literacy, imparting it in schools is essential for transferring wealth. At a very young age, financial attitudes and behaviours start to develop. It is crucial to teach children how to manage their finances and how to make wise decisions. Budgeting and cash flows can be covered in the classroom so that students can comprehend the idea of “money in, money out” and how it will affect them over the long term. Our young people need to understand how loans operate, how interest is calculated, and how it may affect their long-term financial condition. Regardless of what was stated above, retirement planning is crucial, as is the ability to save a small amount of money today and the potential outcomes. We can shift the narrative from poverty to a debt-free lifestyle and from inheritance money being a “curse” to a gift by teaching financial literacy in schools.
Furthermore, by empowering our children to make wise decisions, we may transfer generational wealth. Our young people take out personal loans in this digital and social media era only to pay for a trip to Bali or Paris, only to find out when they get back that they have to start repaying the loan with a very high-interest rate for four years. Simply to take out another loan to make up for it and land oneself in a financial mess.
I am aware that some could counter that a high school student is unlikely to have much money, access to credit, or employment, thus there is no sense in teaching them about saving, investing, paying taxes, or budgeting. However, many of us received religious, moral, and life skills instruction at school, and this helped to shape who we are now. Basic values like respect, generosity, compassion, and self-discovery were taught to us. Entrepreneurship is another subject that has recently been added to the curriculum because it encourages students to think creatively and critically while teaching them real-world skills that will help them live extraordinary lives in a world that is changing quickly. Many western countries have introduced Financial Literacy in their school curriculum examples of these countries are Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden just to name a few.
Children in Namibia are taught how to become excellent doctors and people with strong business abilities as part of the present school curriculum. Financial literacy will give today’s youth the tools they need to become financially educated adults since they will be the leaders of tomorrow. In the end, it will determine both their future and the future of our nation.