In high school, one of the most useful classes I took was Personal Financial Planning.
An online, single semester course, PFP was an engaging class that covered a lot of important and relevant material. From learning conceptual information using EVERFI’s financial literacy modules to participating in an online stock market simulation with my classmates, I liked that my teacher used multiple learning tools to help students understand the content.
I thought my personal finance class was fairly straightforward, and it took a few hours each week to complete the assignments and assessments. The class was well-organized, interesting, and very applicable and useful for my life. Many of my peers who have taken a personal finance class in a traditional classroom setting or online (like me) have also had a positive experience, and they tell me that they definitely felt that the class was worthwhile.
Personal finance is important and useful
I feel that in high school, certain courses that students take aren’t as easily applicable to daily life. For example, calculus isn’t something most individuals in the real-world use on a day-to-day basis. However, personal finance is definitely important. Through this class, I learned many useful skills, including how to create a budget, the basics of filing taxes, how to deal with student debt, and even what factors to consider when buying my own vehicle someday. As myself and many other students my age go off to college or other post-secondary opportunities soon, these skills will become more and more useful. I think all high schoolers need to be taught personal finance in some sort of school setting because these are real-life skills that will come in handy in the future. Nowadays, many young people make unwise financial decisions and have to deal with the consequences—sometimes for the rest of their lives. Many times, this happens simply because they didn’t fully understand what they were getting themselves into. Having an understanding (even if it’s just a very simple, basic understanding) of financial concepts and ideas before graduating high school would be so helpful and beneficial for success in the real world.
Schools are starting to make personal finance a requirement
Although taking a personal finance class wasn’t a graduation requirement for me personally, my high school very recently made it a requirement for students beginning next year. This isn’t a change just in my high school; in fact, many high schools across the nation are requiring students to take a personal finance classes, and the U.S. Treasury has recently called for mandatory financial literacy courses for college students because of concerns regarding student debt. It’s really no wonder that such high significance has been given to financial education for high school and college students in recent years; currently, U.S. student debt is at a record high of more than $1.5 trillion. There has been a lot of concern that students and families are taking on debt without realizing the long-term impact it could have.
Thinking about college
With college tuition and related expenses currently at exceptionally high rates (and only rising year-to-year), it is important for families to really consider their finances and think through the implications of debt before making college and other educational decisions. Having a good understanding of debt and its effects will only make it easier for students to have productive conversations with their families about important topics like this, and it may allow students to view a situation from multiple perspectives and make an educated decision with their family that takes multiple factors, including prestige, finances, resources available, etc, into consideration.
When making a college decision a few months ago, I had a lot to consider, and I think having a good understanding of personal finance really helped me see my options from multiple perspectives. I was able to think beyond just the next four years and really consider how I wanted my life to look in the long-run.
Personal finance was a high-impact class that was both simple and interesting. Even if your high school doesn’t require students to take it, I still recommend that you take the class if it is offered to you. If you are not able to take personal finance as a class through your school, I would encourage you to look into online options such as EVERFI and just go through the modules during your free time. These courses are usually very easy to understand and don’t require very much time or effort. I was able to get a better understanding of many important financial concepts and topics, and I definitely think I am better prepared for college and life in general because I took a personal finance class.