I was very fortunate growing up as a kid. At five years old my Mom would bring me to our local bank, back then, Shawmut Bank in the city of Boston. I had a passbook, with about $20 in it and every week we would make a deposit of a dollar or so. When the transaction would occur, there would be a line item in my passbook, it was interest, and it would usually amount to around $.03. My mother then explained to me, this is what happens when you save money, it creates interest,
Back then things were a little simpler than they are today. Kids saving money was the norm. There weren’t as many gadgets to buy. Case and point, look at expenses today that weren’t around back in the day. Cell phones, texting, laptops, tablets, cable and the list goes on. Let’s look at a recent college graduate. First, some have school loans in the thousands of dollars at a young age. Now add up all of the expenses just mentioned. On top of that, the starting salaries are less today than they were 20 years ago. The difference is back then you didn’t have all of these expenses and the same or more income. With that said, it’s a bit more difficult today.
So things have changed quite a bit. To say the least, you have to be extremely frugal with your money today. I am a big fan of starting good habits early in someone’s life, this way those habits carry on forever. Furthermore this is why the early part of elementary education is so important for kids. The fundamentals that you learn in grade school stick with you forever.
So now we have identified that things have changed somewhat dramatically, especially in the finance world. I was always curious as to why they don’t teach this in today’s elementary school curriculum. Given, they do teach what money is. This is a quarter, this is a dime and this is a dollar bill, what do you have $1.35. That’s fine. What they are not teaching is what to do with it. I’m not saying to teach kids about puts and calls in the options market, or selecting dividend growth stocks. I’m talking about a simple passbook or the like. Even a fake passbook in school so the kids can see how money grows, like my mother did with me.
So the world has changed and todays schools have somewhat adapted to those changes, that’s just my opinion. Oh yes, I forgot, MCAS. If Jim and John are in a tree, they are on the same limb, Jim weighs 87 pounds and John weighs 89 pounds but Jim is carrying 3 pounds of Nintendo games. If the limb breaks, who hits the ground first? I guess they call that “creative thinking”. As important, George Washington and the cherry tree. No, he did not cut down the cherry tree, he put an ax into it which led to its demise, then confessed to his Dad.
So those things are important. But what happens 30 years from now when the grown up third grader goes for a loan on for a home. Will they start the conversation off by saying Jim hit the ground first, or that George didn’t actually cut the tree down. I’m guessing the mortgage broker will say “ you have qualified for a loan of $0, thank you and have a nice day”. And by the way, I answered John because I didn’t take the Nintendo games into consideration, I was wrong, oops. But I did save money, and I have a home now. You may want to bring your stories to a local bank. I heard they give out loans based on your MCAS performance in third grade.
So why aren’t the schools changing? I’m not quite sure, maybe for the same reason that grown-ups haven’t adjusted to today’s changes. The unfortunate piece is where people fail others profit. So you better not teach them things to give them an advantage. Heck, I got my daughter a passbook the day she got her social security number, maybe I should have been teaching her about the two kids in a tree.