NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- New investors never know where to turn. They never know where to look. They hear stories about 1,000% returns overnight and are either lured into the wrong, shady investments, or are overly cautious -- as perhaps, they should be -- and hoard their cash in low-return assets, sometimes not even beating inflation.
By why is this?
My main problem with investing is how it is perceived by the general population -- and how it fails to find itself in the classroom. While I can't wholesomely speak for everyone, most high school students are required to learn about everything but finance.
Finances are private. Finance is something you talk about with your parents
-- but only when the kids are old enough, of course.
That's the old adage that many of us live by. But for crying out loud, why!?
High school students -- at least those in Michigan -- are required to complete a lot of classes: Four years of math, four years of English/language arts, three years of history, two years of foreign language, one year of physical education and one year of applied arts.
The problem should be obvious here: There's no required finance! I just don't get it and I don't know why it hasn't been changed. Now I'm not trying to downplay the importance of the 'core subjects' here, but how does knowing the photosynthesis process help 90% of future American citizens? How about finding the length of a hypotenuse?
While only a fraction of students will actually need to know these processes (and countless others),
needs to learn financial essentials: How to balance a checkbook, the dangers of a credit card, how debt works (such as student loans or a mortgage) and how to save and invest.
While finance quickly goes from an open field to a dark, thick, twisted jungle, that doesn't mean it's impossible to tackle. Even more so, it's another reason that it should be required in school, to some degree.
Even two classes would be enough to make a substantial difference in many people's lives. A personal finance class could help with basic financial conundrums that oftentimes stump those who have no one to ask or turn to with basic questions.