Think About It: Basic Economics - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News, Weather and Sports

February 1, 2018

Think About It: Basic Economics

Only 20 states in this country mandate that each and every high school graduate has some basic sense of personal finance and economics. And that makes no sense. While learning trigonometry about cosines is great, knowing what it means to cosign a bank document is surely of greater importance later in life. And while it's important to understand the concept of a right angle, it's more important to understand the pragmatic nature of what angle to take when approaching credit card debt, student loans, and a mortgage that might end up oppressing you for years. 70% of adults recently scored a "C" or worse on a nationwide economics exam.

According to the National Council for Economic Education, 25% of millennials spend more than they earn; 67% of Generation Y has less than 90-days of emergency funds available to them. 97% of adults think economics should be taught in school. 93% of students agree. We can augment that necessary change here in Hawaii by working with the Department of Education to ensure that every child graduates high school with at least the basics to help them move toward a financially stable life. Economic ignorance often leads to lower financial opportunities and weaker outcomes. Maybe it needs to be a middle school class to catch all kids as some drop out in high school. Maybe freshman year is the ideal time. We just need to figure out how to tweak existing school schedules and work in at least a month or so of solid, but basic, vital economic education.

We need teachers trained and rewarded at every high school or middle school throughout the state as we need to bring personal finance and a basic set of money skills to our keiki before they hit the real world. There is no doubt, none, that financial literacy pays dividends. We talk about teaching physical and mental health, well it's time for pushing financial health in our schools. Let's work together with the DOE and state legislators this session to get a game plan going to enact this concept already working in 20 states. Let's make sure that future generations here stay ahead of the game and don't fall into a financial pit due to ignorance. Reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic are great, but not more so than the real world value of economic knowledge. Think about it…

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