Because the universe is beautiful enough without having to lie about it

UK Kids to get finance lessons

November 1st, 2008 Posted in Education, Politics

I’m catching up on a few bits of recent news that I haven’t written about. Also, there are a few more presentations on my site – see the tab at the top of this page for more details. I’ve finally done one about the mythological flood of Noah.

After my initial blog post on what children should be taught in school, I have since seen several discussions that have echoed exactly what I was saying. Starting with Richard Wiseman’s studies of teaching school children magic, we now have the UK government calling for better teaching of finance in schools.

One of the biggest problems facing children coming to adulthood in the 21st century is the bewildering array of tantalising propaganda encouraging them to spend their way to happiness, and the utter lack of any immediate incentive to do otherwise. It’s tempting to blame the children, though at some level you have to imagine the analogy of waving a bottle of whisky in front of an alcoholic: the fact is that advertising and peer pressure are extremely powerful influences and very few can truly avoid them.

So today’s young adults are left in massive debt before they’re very far into their twenties, and consequently they have extraordinary amounts of money stress, and are often forced to work far harder than is healthy for them either psychologically or physically or, unfortunately, declare bankruptcy. Personal bankruptcies are at terrifyingly high record levels. I can’t help but think that it would be fairly easy to instil into children an understanding of simple topics like compound interest (which we as humans, have absolutely no innate ability to understand, it seems); the enormous danger of accumulating credit card debt; setting aside money for necessities; delayed gratification; insurance, pensions and tax. ¬†And, of course, there are many more.

I wish I’d learned about such things when I was a school child. Fortunately, my parents taught me how to save money, and studying maths helped me to understand compound interest, but it wasn’t until I was well into my twenties that I began to understand about concepts like tax and mortgages.

Money can’t buy you happiness but, rather like a baseball bat, in the wrong hands it can cause a lot of suffering.

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