Private Portfolio -Learning about personal financial matters
I noticed an SMS in one of the newspapers this week of a reader complaining about having to take lessons at school about things that he will not need in his future career.
I do not totally agree with this view, however I would agree that the learners at school are not taught enough about things that will matter in future. Things like money.
We do not get sufficiently trained in personal financial matters and we make many expensive mistakes because of that.
At school we do not get taught what the difference between a current and a savings account is or even simple every day issues like how a home loan works and what the different principles are in financial matters and what the terms are we use to refer to them.
Even professional people like lawyers, doctors and dentists who are potentially high income earners are not taught how to manage and apply their money once they have earned it. I know of such persons who wish this could be included in their university studies.
Throughout life money is the one thing that makes the world go round – whether we have it or not. You can ask any person, rich or poor whether he has enough money and the answer would be “no” unless he’s recently won the lotto. Then his money could be enough for a while.
In other words, no matter what we do for a living, we need to know about money and we need to know that money matters. We need to learn that from the day we get our first pocket money or money we have earned doing some chores.
Technically most of us in Namibia are bankrupt. By the end of the month we are already spending next months income and if there is a sudden and unforeseen expense we are in trouble because we do not have back-up funds to cater for such events.
We don’t save and we live from hand to mouth. Even those of us fortunate enough to have a regular income. The reason? We do not plan ahead because we were never taught how to work with our money. In fact, we were never taught what money is.
This can easily be seen at restaurants for example where tables are full at the beginning of the month and from the second half of the month it’s easy to find a table because the majority of us eat at home because we cannot afford to eat out.
Not knowing about money is no longer an excuse. Nowadays we can easily teach ourselves via the internet where there are literally millions of resources to pick and choose from to learn about almost any topic you can think of.
My favourite website where one can learn almost anything of almost everything is www.khanacademy.com where you can learn from a huge catalogue of lessons in a way which is easy to understand. Certainly worth a click. Also for teachers who wish to improve their own knowledge of things to teach their learners. The level of difficulty is up to the learner to choose.
If I were a teacher and there was internet access for the learners in my class I would make it compulsory to spend at least one hour per week at khanacademy.com to broaden their minds and to learn something new every week. From how a current account works to what makes the leaves in autumn turn a different colour.
Such knowledge may save us money in the long run because with every lesson we have learnt in theory, we would not have to learn in practise by trial and error. Errors that may turn out to be very costly.
More importantly, learning may make you better employable and land you a good job one day so that you can earn more money and also know how to work with it.