Teaching students the fundamentals of personal finance has become a standard part of the curriculum at many high schools. By the time these young people enter college, they face a different kind of financial reality: student loans and other expenses related to getting a good education. These students also are looking to the future: Will the training they receive translate into a decent job?
Many Americans have become acutely aware of the national economy in the past year. Recessions tend to draw attention to the many ways our personal lives are affected by economic trends beyond our control. All of which makes those high school and college-level courses in personal finance more important than ever.
It's not just youngsters who must deal with what often seems like a financial maze. Over the weekend, The Wall Street Journal published a special guide to retirement planning and living. It included a test that plumbed the awareness of retired and nearly retired workers regarding the effect this recession has had on retirement expectations. A quick review of the questions indicates most of us could use a refresher course in basic finance.
The more we understand our finances, the better we understand our future, whether we are high school students or retirees.