Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Who Knows Their Money

From this post, which is really a must-read, is a quiz that I thought would be good for SerandEz readers. I'm going to place it above to the right.

Please answer ALL three questions!


  1. Haha.

    The correct answers are...


  2. ANOTHER FINANCE POST! AHHHH!!! *runs away*

  3. You're kidding, right?

    That's a quiz?!

  4. Stam - Oy.

    G - Amazing, isn't it? Just see the reactions above yours. :)

  5. First two- check.

    Last one--- um... I don't even know what a stock mutual fund is... (but I have a pretty reasonable estimation)

    I agreed with the point of his article. Finances is missing from frum schools as well... (actually, wait- I was told that my school did learn Business while I was in French class. Whoops...)

  6. Some excellent points in the article but why put in that tired argument of "They learn Chaucer and trigonometry which they will never find useful"? Because learning about basic finances is important doesn't mean that there is an either/or situation here: either finances or Chaucer. It would be more correct to say that students need to know about Chaucer(or pick any famous author to malign), trigonometry and finances.

    And what was left out was any mention of parents and the home as being a venue where financial information is taught. Learning how to calculate interest, to compare financial investment vehicles is not really rocket science, and does not require a Professor of Economics.

  7. ProfK - I'm with them on that one. I've never read Chaucer, and it has never and will never affect me in any way that matters. I learned trig back in 8th grade, and noted at the time that it has little use - short of architects, engineers, and a few others, not much matters after algebra.

    Finances are on a far different level - if a majority of this country could take responsibility for their own finances, we'd have a lot more money for those who enjoy things like Chaucer.

  8. I'm with them on that one. I've never read Chaucer, and it has never and will never affect me in any way that matters.

    Okay, I kind of agree with you on this one, but I do have to stand up and defend literature for a second. It's not specifically Chaucer that's meant in a statement like that. It's literature in general. If we lived in a world that was all about practicality but not about humanity, we would be robots. Learning about finances teaches us what to do in important life situations and is extremely practical and vital to know. Reading good (stress on 'good') literature - whether it's Chaucer, Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens, whomever you decide is good - teaches us about humanity, human nature, etc. and that's important, too. Maybe you've never read Chaucer, but maybe you've read something else or seen a movie or experienced something which effected the way you see the world, understand people, anything in that realm.

  9. I understand that literature as a whole was meant, and I stand by my statement. Literature has value - but it is secondary to the practical. Finances should take precedence over literature in a curricula, because it allows society as a whole to flourish far more than it would otherwise. The lack of education in economics continues to bankrupt this country and place a burden on those who understand it to save those who don't. The lessons learned from literature are not only able to be learned elsewhere, including day-to-day life, but are truly secondary at best in their importance.

  10. Okay, I agree with you that they can be learned in day to day life which is why I added in at the end about having "experienced something" instead of reading a book or whatever.

    Honestly, I really think both are of equal importance in order to live a healthy, balanced life. I'm not advocating that everyone become English majors and spend their lives studying pieces of fiction that someone else wrote. I'm just talking about recognizing the profound importance of working on humanity in addition to working on the practicalities of life. We could live in a country with amazing financial...ness but it could be a total mess in terms of how people are treated. I don't think that's a very happy existence. And of course, on the flip side, everyone can be wonderful and happy but live in horrible conditions.

    Both are important and I don't think one comes before or over the other.

  11. But yes, I agree, finances should be taught in high school at some point.

    But I have a question - how much would that help? I had to take economics in high school and I can barely remember a thing from it. I hated it, I found it dry and boring and awful, and as soon as the class was over I just forgot it all. Classes in high school give people a flavor of what things are about, but a person can't learn to manage all their finances just from a high school class and if they're not interested in it, they won't take a class like that in college. Unless colleges make it part of their required core curriculum or something.

  12. In any basic finance course, one of the first principles is how to balance sociological concerns with economic reality. I disagree that they're equal; the finances need to come first, or the rest can't stand. A good video is Hans Rosling on - he has two of them - detailing how societies succeed when their economic backbone is built first and foremost. This country is reasonably successful because there is a strong backbone, but it also keeps hitting crises because people don't understand what they're doing. There is more borrowed in this country than the assets to back it up. That's a huge issue. 1/2 of high school seniors can't answer all the questions I posted. That's a huge issue. Etc.

  13. But I have a question - how much would that help?

    Tremendously. Most teens think credit cards are basically free money. They have little to no concept of the time value of money. It *should* also be a mandatory college course (and in some places, it is), but the science and liberal arts majors want little to do with it - "it's dry", as you said. But it's too important for it not to be taught - the people who find it not dry are the ones who already know it.

    Start with a good example in a high school class (how much is that Wii really costing you, or how much are you blowing by buying lunch each day instead of making one) to make this point: "After 10 years, the person who saved $10 a day would have $46,585 in the bank, whereas the person whop spent the $10 he didn't have would be $167,470 in debt, resulting in a net worth difference of over $210,000."

    We've got about $50,000 in debt right now, before interest, plus our car is a lease and we rent an apartment - i.e. we have no real major assets. And we actually KNOW how this stuff works. The people who don't are doing far worse, seemingly living a nice life, and in the end, they're either going to crash or more likely be bailed out by a parent. Each one creates a huge drain on society, either when they crash or at some point in the future.

    That's far more important than reading literature, however much value one might think it has.

  14. Unless the whole high school curriculum is changed to include finance as a class each year, like math or english or history, I don't know how much one class would help. But I still don't think it has to be finance instead of literature. I'd put it instead Or art.

  15. I think you only need one or two finance/economics courses. And ha - art, music, literature... who wishes to debate them? :)