5. How to Invest
The earlier people start investing for their future, the easier it is for them to reach their financial goals due to the magic of compound interest. Understanding the basics of investments and learning where they should be placing their money should be understood when they leave high school rather than having to experiment as young adults.
The time to know about investing is before you have money to invest rather than by trial and error when receiving a paycheck.
6. Basics of Real Estate
Understanding the fundamentals of real estate and how different mortgages work is extremely important as many are finding out with the current subprime mortgage meltdown.
A good grasp of what is important when purchasing real estate and how different mortgages work rather than whether you can make the monthly mortgage payment at the time of signing it would have saved a lot of people their homes.
7. Retirement Issues
The first step that any new employee should do when joining a company is to join the 401(k) plan they offer up to the match, since not doing so is essentially throwing away free money. Yet since high school doesn't teach this, many young adults do exactly this. If schools taught high school students how easy it is to become a millionaire if they only begin saving for retirement early through 401(k) and IRAs, many more would embrace saving and investing early.
8. Finer Points of Entrepreneurship
When it comes to financial security, putting all your eggs in one basket contains a lot of risks. In today's work environment, there is no guarantee of lifelong employment. Learning basic entrepreneurship and building a part-time business on the side is something that everyone should do for both the income and tax benefits. Schools should not only teach the basics to be able to work for somebody else, but also how to work on your own if you choose.
Since most high schools don't teach personal finance, those most in need of this education (those students with parents that have good finances are likely teaching them at home) are left to try and figure out this information on their own after they graduate. Some will succeed in learning and some will struggle, but all would be better off if they had learned it before entering the work force.