Older Children & Personal Finance
A couple of years back our oldest daughter needed a new car. She was on her second used Camry and for whatever reason needed a new car. We talked her into a third Toyota, but her credit wasn’t great so my husband cosigned the loan.
Things went along smoothly for a while, but then we started to get calls from Toyota credit about late payments. We’d have to call down to her house and nag her about making the payments and things would get quiet again. A few more months passed with no calls and we started to relax. Mistake! More late payment calls came in.
We finally decided to find out what the balance on the car was and pay it off with the understanding that our daughter would make payments to us until the debt was repaid. Our credit was taking a beating and this seemed like a sound idea. We’re still waiting for the first payment, but rest assured, we will make sure that she pays us off.
This got me thinking about young adults and finance. I was talking to a coworker last week about her son when he was in college and the credit card trap he fell into. Mom & dad had to bail him out and have him repay them. Do they teach personal finance to kids at four year institutions???
I know our daughter had to take Elon 101 as one of her freshmen courses, but we never heard her talk about a personal finance course. I think those sorts of courses ought to be part of all the college curriculums. Just because a person learns enough to get a job in their field of choice doesn’t mean that they are going to be able to handle their money properly or make sound spending decisions once they’re out in the world.
The junior college I attended offered a personal finance course and I took it towards part of my business administration credits. I knew some of the stuff, which I had learned from my mother – buy quality material and classic styles for work clothes because they will wear longer than anything trendy or cheaply made. The course covered a lot of good points though; things I wish I could reinforce with our eldest child. Concepts such as utility – cost vs. how much a thing will be used.
I realize that teaching kids about money starts at home. I thought we had done a good job in showing our older kids how to handle money. Now it looks like we’re going to have to hogtie one of ‘em over Christmas in order to help her set up a workable budget (which includes Savings!).
I still think mandatory college curriculum about personal finance is important though. This particular daughter took anything her teachers ever told her as gospel and thought her dad and I were re…..I mean mentally challenged.
Say a little prayer for us, will ya?