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February 18th, 2009

I spent about a year writing a lesson book designed to teach young people money skills. After completing the book, I managed to get it approved as a text book by the Newport-Mesa School District here in Orange County, CA.

Then reality hit. They don’t teach personal finance classes anywhere in the district. Why one might ask? To this probing question, as with so many questions, there are good answers and real answers.

First, the good answers. We’re teaching Math and Science – they are a national priority. Young people are getting all the financial lessons they need at home – studies indicate that 90% of money skills are learned at home. Blah, blah, blah.

Now, the real answers. We don’t have the money to teach money skills – they are paid to teach Math and Science. We don’t have the time to teach money skills – the unions are dictating how much teaching time is available in any one day and again Math and Science are priorities. Blah, blah blah.

Now here’s what I don’t get and perhaps you may understand and can inform me. I keep hearing all about Math and Science. Hey, they are a national priority. We’re falling behind the world in Math and Science. China is burying us in Math and Science. This all sounds so important and so immediate and so critical to the future of the universe.

Now let’s confuse the situation with logic and clear thinking. A very dangerous thing in most cases.

Question: For every one thousand high school students how many will be working in fields related to Math and Science 20 years form now?

Follow-up Question: How many will be handling money, balancing check books and working with personal and family budgets?

See what I mean? Thinking too much can make you crazy.

Another Question: Based upon what you see today, are money skills being learned at home?

Get this – only three states require high schools to teach money skills. What ever will the rest of us do?

Easy answer – buy my book.

Enough said.

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