Financial Skills you Should Have Learned in High School

By Randall Orser | Budget

Most people feel that the financial education that they received in high school fell way short for navigating today’s world.  Many students leave without even learning the basics of financial skills and often many parents don’t talk to their kids, either because they lack the knowledge themselves or are embarrassed by their own financial situation. 

There are things that every high school student should know to be able to manage their money, so now might be a good time to have a financial discussion with your kids.  Here are some basic skills that will help to set up their finances now and in their future.

  1. Balancing a Checkbook – Even though this is felt to be old fashioned with today’s online banking, it is still a good skill to learn as it keeps a running tally of your chequing account and your spending.  This makes it easier to manage your money in the future. It is also important to balance your account to your statement each month.
  2. How to Set up a Budget – This is the key to financial success.  If you have no idea how much money you are bringing in and spending each month then it is easy to get into the red.  Learning to set up a basic and realistic budget that you can stick to will help you to plan for the future and be successful later in life.  
  3. How to Pay for College – There are other ways of paying for college besides student loans, these include financial aid, scholarships, and work-study options.  Learning how to pay for college without accumulating massive debt should be a required course for all high school students.
  4. Cooking, Grocery Shopping and other Life Skills – Having these skills will help you to save money.  Grocery shopping and basic cooking will help you to find the best prices and plan menus.  Doing laundry and mending clothes will help you to make your clothes last longer saving you money (and it's good for the environment).
  5.  Basic Investing – A class in this can make a huge difference in how you handle your money in college or as an adult.  Investing can be intimidating if you do not have basic knowledge of how the stock market works and how to choose basic stocks.  If you learn these skills, you can start investing early in life.
  6.  Long–Term Financial Planning - This means learning to set financial goals and then break them down into attainable steps.  This will set the foundation for working towards your financial goals later in life such as paying off your house or debt and planning for retirement.
  7.  How to Build Credit and Manage Credit Cards – Many college students have no idea how to use credit cards successfully or how to build their credit.  They see credit cards as extra money which can lead to difficulty in paying back what they spend and can affect their credit score.  Building a good credit score is an essential skill to learn to help you qualify for loans and get better interest rates.
  8. How to Rent an Apartment and Pay Utilities – Though many college students start off in dorms eventually they move on to renting an apartment or house and having roommates.  At that point they need to know that their own financial situation can be affected by others if they are late paying their portion of the rent or utility bills.
  9. Doing your Taxes – Once you have income you need to pay income taxes on it, but it is not that simple you also need to know what allowances and credits you can claim to offset your tax bill.

From an article by Rachel Morgan Cautero


About the Author

President/CEO Number Crunchers® Accounting Inc. Learn how to just say stuff it to this bookkeeping thing with our 'Just Say: "Stuff It" To Bookkeeping program.