Today I talked to a friend about the benefits of a 401(k). I have no idea if his company offers one, but it made me feel good that I can share a bit of personal finance information. It also made me think about the lack of personal finance education in high schools and colleges.
To be honest, if I haven’t stumbled into this VORTEX of personal finance-obsessed bloggers (I say that with love!), I probably wouldn’t know a 401(k) from my right foot. Or left foot. The internet provide excellent resources but it’s still not a substitute for personal finance education in the curriculum. It doesn’t even have to be a semester-long course – a series of 5 or 6 seminars would work just as well.
One 2-hour seminar each on credit card debt, student loans, car purchases, healthcare plans, and retirement plans would provide a baseline of understanding. Such a series would be so, so helpful for students about to graduate college (like me).
Many of my friends (being the smart and ambitious and awesome people that they are) are graduating with coursework in corporate finance, international finance, world-domination finance (maybe I made that one up). But there’s no class on personal finance. Knowing about the trade inbalances between U.S. and China might make interesting conversation, but setting up a 401(k) is probably more applicable to a recent grad’s financial future.