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More Students Want Money Lessons in the Classroom

13 September 2012

With all the talk of high tuition costs and the unemployment problems today’s undergrads could be facing, it’s not surprising that today’s youth are starting to catch on. And they’re doing more than just holding protests against the rich on Bay Street, or fighting tuition fees. All many want it seems, is a little education about finances and how to manage them.

It’s the Investor Education Fund that released the results of a survey asking high school students how they felt about money. The survey asked them how prepared they feel to handle their own finances, if they would like to learn more about finance management, and how much budgeting they’re currently doing.

The results of the survey are shown in the chart below:

  • 70% of respondents said they felt learning how to manage money was “important” or “very important.”
  • Four in ten students felt as though they were “somewhat” or “very prepared” to manage their money after high school.
  • 25% said that they thought their school provided them with enough financial management advice.
  • 29% of students said that they “always budget;” while 42% said that they “never budget.”

But the results don’t really surprise anyone, least of all the president of the Investor Education Fund, Tom Hamza. He says,

“This is a trend that I believe has been increasing in the last 20 years as tuition fees have gone up, with changes in credit availability, and with other financial issues that are hitting Canadian households. They see what’s going on. They’re becoming increasingly aware of the demands they’re going to have to face after they graduate. They are recognizing, in fact, that there’s a gap between what they’ve learned in school and what they need to know.”

But, despite the fact that more students would like to learn about personal finances, and how to manage them, they don’t seem to be doing very much about it. Or maybe they just don’t have the know-how yet on how to handle it wisely. Those results are shown in the pie chart below.

Mr. Hazma says that education regarding finances is more important now than ever before.

“The landscape has changed seismically in 20 years,” he says. “I don’t think the school systems have kept up as far as recognizing this is a life skill – not a ‘nice to have,’ but a ‘must have.'”

That’s going to be a difficult argument in today’s school board environment, considering that the teachers’ unions already think the teachers are doing too much; and the provincial government would like to make cutbacks that would give many stagnant pay and reduced sick time.

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