“33% of Canadian parents surveyed aren’t confident they’re setting a healthy financial example for their children.” So, if students aren’t learning much about finances from their parents, where else can students learn the skills that they will use for the rest of their lives?
Students are taught some of the basics about finances in school but not as much as they could be. The BC government is starting to include more financial curriculum in schools, making finances more a part of the math courses. More life-skill math focused on finances is practical since “the majority of students aren’t prepared to manage their money after high school,” according to Money Sense.
In each grade, students learn a little bit about money, such as in grade five students learn about the basics of budgeting and how to determine the best deal for an item. In grade seven, students learn about taxes, tipping percentages, and calculating sale prices. By the end of grade 12, students should learn about how credit cards work, when to use one and when not to use one. The top five most common new credit card owner’s mistakes are making late payments, only paying the minimum payment, not understanding the interest charges, ignoring the credit card agreement and neglecting the monthly statement. All mistakes that can quickly lead to debt. According to a September 6, 2022 CBC article, the average credit debt load of a person in BC is $21, 128.
The BC government has done a fairly good job of including finances in the curriculum; however, Career Life Education (CLE) teacher Adrienne Chapell thinks that the financial curriculum could dive a bit deeper, into concepts such as how mortgages work, how to file personal taxes and how to create healthy spending habits.
Another way that students are learning about finances is from websites and social media platforms. Some of the influencers who are creative with teaching financial tips are Daniel Iles, Mark Tillbury and Gary Vee. All these influencers are creative in teaching small amounts of information in short TikTok’s. Other helpful and user friendly apps and websites are: Savings Goal Calculator for Kids | Mydoh, a calculator which breaks down into five easy steps how to save for a big purchase; Toshl Finance – Personal finance, budget and expense tracker app focuses on financial trends for the current month or over a long period of time, but this app can cost $3.99-$4.99 monthly; and, Debt Payoff Planner – Overview helps to break down large credit card debt into small chunks to make it easier for the user to understand. Another good way of learning how to budget is to spend like normal for a week then reflect and see what a want is and what is a necessity and to cut out the wants and save the extra money.
The sooner teens learn about money, the pitfalls and the responsibilities, the better. And if parents are not modeling or teaching, then students need to be proactive and learn on their own.