Should All Students Take Personal Finance?


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Decatur’s Personal Finance class will teach students how to manage their money and invest for the future.

Zachary Powers, ..

Post-graduation life is a completely new world for most high schoolers. Some students feel they are not prepared for what lies ahead.

“Once I graduate, I’ll be entering a whole new world of finances that I’m not prepared for,” said senior Patrick Fohner about life after high school.

Fortunately for students, the Consumer Personal Finance class, taught by Stan Griffin, will cover everything any student needs to learn about finance and adult working life. 

Want to learn about how to use savings and checking accounts, credit cards, and even plan for retirement? Take Personal Finance. While learning about savings and checking accounts, the distinction between a credit card versus a debit card will also be made. According to the financial website Shift Processing, about 70 percent of adults have a credit card, so it is important to learn everything about them.  

Many high school students have experience at a job but might not understand the tax implications of making money. Knowing how to file a tax return is a skill set that working teenagers must learn. So, why wait to learn about taxes and how to file your tax return once reaching adulthood? Students could learn in high school instead and get ahead of the game. 

Another major part of adult life has to do with loans. Over the course of the semester, the course also covers mortgages and car loans, which are vital to adult life.

One of the most important things taught in the class is the subject of retirement planning. Retirement is your life after work and being prepared for that moment should be on everyone’s mind.

Many high school students must ask themselves why they would need to learn about planning for financial security after retirement. 

“It is important to learn about retirement early because no one wants to not have a plan. Without a plan, adults may find themselves working an extra job after retirement to pay for their livelihoods,” Griffin said.

Griffin recommends two popular ways to start retirement, both of which he teaches in his class: a Roth IRA and a 401(k). IRA stands for individual retirement account. A 401(k) is the government’s term for a pension account where your employer takes a little out of each paycheck, and you get the lump sum when you retire after a certain number of years.

The Consumer Personal Finance course is not a high school graduation requirement, but Griffin recommends that all students find a way to fit the course into their schedule, to prepare students for what lies ahead.

Considering the incredible amount of information about personal finance and the future inner workings of adult financial life, students should consider taking this class.

Finance is something all students and adults will have to deal with as they grow older,” Griffin said, “and by understanding personal finance people can prevent themselves from making large financial mistakes.”