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The Almighty Buck Education

Oklahoma Schools Required To Teach Students Personal Finance 304

Posted by samzenpus
from the value-of-a-dollar dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Paula Burkes reports that under legislation passed in 2007, Oklahoma students, effective this May, now must demonstrate an understanding in banking, taxes, investing, loans, insurance, identity theft and eight other areas to graduate. The intent of personal financial literacy education is to inform students how individual choices directly influence occupational goals and future earnings potential. Basic economic concepts of scarcity, choice, opportunity cost, and cost/benefit analysis are interwoven throughout the standards and objectives. 'Oklahoma has some of the strongest standards in the country,' says Amy Lee, executive director of the Oklahoma Council on Economic Education, which lobbied for and helped develop the curriculum. 'Where other states require four or five standards regarding earnings, savings and investing, Oklahoma has 14 standards including three that are state-specific: bankruptcy, the financial impact of gambling and charitable giving.' The law is designed to allow different districts to implement the curriculum in different ways, by offering instruction in various grade levels, or by teaching all the curriculum in a single class or spreading it across several courses. 'The intent of this law was always to graduate students out of high school with a strong foundation in personal financial literacy to reduce the many social ills that come from mismanaging personal finance,' says Jim Murphree. 'I cannot think of anything that we teach that is more relevant.'"
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Oklahoma Schools Required To Teach Students Personal Finance

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  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by realilskater (76030) on Monday February 24, 2014 @06:14PM (#46328821)

    Maybe students will fully understand the ramifications of going deep in to debt to with student loans.

  • Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24, 2014 @06:17PM (#46328857)

    I can get behind this type of teaching. As the summary states, there is nothing more relevant to someone graduating from high school with no real experience or specific working knowledge that is not self-taught.

    It's actually unfortunate that they left it up to the districts as that means there will inevitably be multiple districts where it is planned, or taught, by someone who has no clue about it themselves.

  • by IgnorantMotherFucker (3394481) on Monday February 24, 2014 @06:24PM (#46328933) Homepage

    When I was six years old, I figured I was old enough to ask for an allowance.

    "Mom? Can I have an allowance?"

    "No Mike."

    "But Mom! I want to buy my own candy bars."

    "No Mike."

    I begged and pleaded for like an hour. Finally Mom agreed to twenty-five cents a week. That meant that every two weeks, I could buy my own candy bar!

    The following week I asked for my allowance. "What allowance?" Mom replied. I broke down in tears. "But Mom, you said I could have twenty-five cents a week." "No I didn't."

    She did finally give me just that week's twenty-five cents. After that I gave up on even asking.

    I have an older sister. When mom would treat the two of us to a movie, she would give my sister the money for both of our tickets. Mom pointed out that because Jean was older than I, she was more responsible with money.

    I was down with that. Jean was three years older than I; the maturity difference between six and nine years old was obvious to me even then.

    But when I got to be nine, Mom would still give Jean the money when treating us both to a movie. Even when I was in high school.

    The end result of my own mother not trusting me with money, and not wanting to teach me to handle my own money, is that I did not finally figure out how to handle money ON MY OWN until I was a half-million dollars in debt! I am not fucking kidding.

    Even the IRS, while the hassled me quite a bit, wrote me off as uncollectable. The California Franchise Tax Board, Maine Revenue Services and Canada Revenue Agency didn't exactly write me off. They just stopped calling.

    I expect Citibank would like to know where I am. If they ever find me, I will declare bankrupcy.

    But now, I'm a wizard with GNUCash, OpenOffice Calc, Excel and Quattro Pro. I don't have no accountant. I don't need no stinkin' accountant. I know how to read financial books.

    However it is quite unlikely that I will ever purchase a home again. If I ever do it will either be because I scored options with a successful startup, or a start a successful business myself.

    If you have a child yourself, you could save them - and yourself - a lot of trial and tribulation if you buy them a piggy bank at the very first opportunity. That would be when the could be trusted to handle a penny - yes a one cent piece, or your own national currency equivalent - without sticking it in their mouth and asphyxiating.

    Get one of the ceramic piggy banks that does not have a cork stopper, so you have to break it open with a hammer.

    When your chillun sees what has become of his financial management upon cracking open his or her piggy bank, raise his allowance to a nickel.

    Do this the right way, and they'll put themselves through college, as did a close friend of mine from high school. He was promoted to manager at McDonalds when he was eighteen, and had only just the week before graduated high school.

  • by vux984 (928602) on Monday February 24, 2014 @07:13PM (#46329471)

    Thusly, I wonder how politically neutral this implementation is...

    personal finances courses tend to be:

    how to make a budget
    how to balance a checkbook (even though nobody uses them)
    how credit card interest works
    how car loan interest works
    how leasing works
    how home mortgages work
    how bank interest works (or in today's banks doesn't)

    some very introductory stuff on investments (ie what are bonds, gics, stocks, dividends, mutual funds, etc).

    And I would hope in today's versions they talk a bit about things like payday loans.

    Its pretty practical stuff largely divorced from any economic theory.

  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Monday February 24, 2014 @07:18PM (#46329517)

    We used to have civics classes back when I was in school. We learned about the Federal, State, County and City governments, their structure, how you can interact with government, etc. Too many people are so clueless about how it all works they shouldn't even be allowed to vote (although most of them probably don't).

  • I'm not surprised. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Valdrax (32670) on Monday February 24, 2014 @07:19PM (#46329523)

    You know, I count myself firmly as a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, but one of the strong suits of conservatism as a philosophy is a belief both in the value of self-reliance and self-responsibility, especially in a financial realm. I have no surprise seeing this come from a red state, and I wish more states would embrace such a curriculum.

    It's irresponsible that we don't teach kids how to manage money, and it's a good place to get in their heads that math is useful for something, even if they don't like it. We need a society that values saving and long-term rewards over short-term consumption.

    We spend too much time thinking of the other side as "the enemy" because of "wrong" beliefs that don't match our own and not enough time looking seriously at their strengths and how we can embrace those as common values -- places where we need to step up our own game in a bipartisan fashion.

    So, good for you, Okies. May this be an example for the rest of us.

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Monday February 24, 2014 @07:27PM (#46329615)

    And while I'm in support of this, it's pathetic that we need classes to teach people such things; it shows how unintelligent most people are, and demonstrates further that schools are based on rote memorization.

    I suppose you sprung from the womb, with a credit card, checkbook, investments all in hand, taxes paid up, retirement account established and ready to go?

    Seriously, where do you suppose people learn stuff? Not everyone's parents are able to teach this kind of stuff, some scarcely know it themselves. What do you think education is for? If not teaching this, then what SHOULD they teach?

    Its not like it is all expected to be taught to seniors in High school. It can be spread over many years. Just like everything else taught in public schools.

    In sixth grade we had an investment chapter in one of my classes. We learned to to research stocks and bonds. We made investments (monopoly money). We tracked them every week through the newspaper. YES Newspaper. This was 1962 There was no internet. My parents never had enough to invest. They had no clue. I knew what a PE ratio was before I was out of grade school. (Didn't fully understand it, but knew where it came from and how to use it).

    I just wish my mom had access to the water your mom drank. Maybe I would have sprung fully fledged into the delivery room, ready to go job hunting the next day.

  • by Valdrax (32670) on Monday February 24, 2014 @08:05PM (#46330003)

    Too bad Oklahoma receives more in federal dollars than it pays in, unlike most 'liberal' states.

    You know what would help change that? More people knowing how to live within their means and how to avoid predatory lending. Are you really so wrapped up in "team rivalry" thinking that you reject this common sense idea on reflex?

    Progressives should be happy that we're helping people in need, but we should also be even happier when they're shown how not to need it and to help others in need in their place. It's a sad thing that American politics has devolved the the point where you can only be self-reliant and independent OR compassionate and community oriented. Strong OR generous. What happened to being both?

  • by Valdrax (32670) on Monday February 24, 2014 @08:18PM (#46330101)

    Don't worry - that sort of thinking will be a quaint anachronism soon. Government dependence is the name of the game in 2014. Then, the dependent people can vote for more benefits for themselves, and continue in a virtuous cycle until America is a one-party nation. The future is going to be awesome!

    I know you think you're being cute and funny, but this kind of asinine reductionism (whether sincere or not) is a huge part of the problem. There are some problems for which government -- i.e. the democratically chosen pooling of resources by the people -- is the best or only solution. Where the line lies between the far extremes of pure laissez faire capitalism and state-run socialism is a valid matter for civil debate and disagreement, but this sort of "all or nothing" BS is why America is completely dysfunctional at this point.

    Because of people who think that the other side has nothing of value to offer and must be relentlessly mocked at any turn. Who think that purity of thought is a virtue and compromise a deadly sin.

    Frankly, a lot of us are sick and tired of it. We need negotiators and diplomats. We need scientists and engineers. We don't need more divas and demagogues and firebrands. No more culture warriors and sound byte artisans.

    We need an adult in here.

  • Re:Rules for kids (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jratcliffe (208809) on Monday February 24, 2014 @08:28PM (#46330193)

    Rules to teach your kids:
    1. NEVER own a credit card. They serve no purpose and the fact of the matter is, if you use one responsibly (only in emergencies) the credit card company will cancel your card for lack of use after a few months anyway. Trust me, I tried for years to keep one but even with an 800+ credit score they'd cancel it every time.

    This is terrible advice. Using a credit card responsibly doesn't mean "only for emergencies," it means "only for expenditures you would have otherwise, and COULD HAVE OTHERWISE, paid for with cash." Pay your bill on time, you pay zero interest, and get cash back.

  • by tlhIngan (30335) <[ten.frow] [ta] [todhsals]> on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @12:01PM (#46335565)

    If you have a child yourself, you could save them - and yourself - a lot of trial and tribulation if you buy them a piggy bank at the very first opportunity. That would be when the could be trusted to handle a penny - yes a one cent piece, or your own national currency equivalent - without sticking it in their mouth and asphyxiating.

    It's called an allowance and it's considered by many financial experts to be among the best ways to teach money management to children.

    It's an excellent tool to teach savings, splitting income, spending, instant vs. delayed gratification, etc. in a really safe environment (because "bankruptcy" Is a harsh, but temporary lesson. Sadly, you learned the hard way what it was like to not grow up with those skills.

    In general I think your kids should expect that if they ask you for money/things the answer will be "no - that's what your allowance is for"

    Except that is not what their allowance is for. If they used their allowance for overpriced ice cream, they would certainly be allowed to, but they'd probably regret it; that small instantaneous bit of ice cream is not worth waiting weeks for and they'd likely decide against it.

    They've learned that they can buy an occasional candy bar without it impacting their long term goals significantly, but $5 for one Popsicle from the ice cream man, they've learned that even if they have enough money, that they cannot really 'afford' it.

    That's the point of an allowance. An allowance is a life-training tool to manage money. The kid learns that he COULD spend the hard earned savings on an ice cream, or he COULD leave it save up for that toy he really wants.

    The point is to learn these lessons in a relatively safe environment (if they blow their wad on ice cream, they don't have to worry about food, shelter, etc). And to learn the value of splitting your "income" in various bundles - a dollar to long term savings (to get the toy you want), a dollar to spend, a dollar to save for times you need more than you have or emergencies, a dollar for charity, etc. And if one forgoes spending, that can make the long term savings for the thing you really want go so much faster.

    And instant gratification versus delayed gratification is an important lesson. Ice cream now vs. now having to wait another month for the toy.

    Finally, one thing children learn way too quickly is how to be a tightwad. Sure it helps to save money, but to pinch every penny may not be the best way (price does not equal value) - spending more might be a better option. Anyone's whose dealt with a parent who insists on keeping their 10 year old junker PC going instead of buying a new one knows this. Plus, instill in them the need to actually go out and socialize with friends - sometimes the goal of saving gets in the way of life and it can lead to health and mental issues - there's absolutely nothing wrong with having fun with friends and getting together, but absolutely wrong (especially for mental health) if you're avoiding friends just to save up for something. It's why you have a "spend/fun" jar.

    I know that was one of my mistakes - putting every penny in a savings jar without putting anything in towards having fun now (you want to die alone as a rich, but miserable person?).

"It's a dog-eat-dog world out there, and I'm wearing Milkbone underware." -- Norm, from _Cheers_