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Default Do the schools in your country teach finance?

June 17th, 2012, 14:20
I was having a discussion with a friend about poverty and education. One of the topics was what little emphasis is given to learning about finances in public school in this country. Most students in the US will graduate high school without being taught anything about finances beyond how to balance a checkbook. I was curious if it was the same in other countries? And if it is given some real educational importance in your country, do you think it makes things better?
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June 18th, 2012, 00:22
Depends how you define 'finance', but yes several aspects of it are taught here. We actually have a gov't sponsored commission in charge of finance education.

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June 18th, 2012, 02:06
I believe in New York State to get a "regents" diploma in high school, economics are a required half year course (studied only 2 out of the 4 school semesters). Of course, since its now required Im sure its pretty dumbed down and basically boils down to "buy low/sell high"
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June 18th, 2012, 02:44
in my high school many, many, many years ago "accounting" was an elective course but consumer education was a required one semester course. Consumer Ed was terrible, because it taught kids to not get ripped off by greedy capitalists instead of how to make a profit.

Marketing classes in 11th and 12th grade were an elective class as well. Most schools at the time just had you running the school store. Our school was all about actual Marketing - advertising product, development and distribution. The teacher was this Libertarian artillery vet from San Diego. He even crossed the picket line when the school went on strike.

I scared the tar out of him at our grad reunion when I came up behind him to say hi.

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June 18th, 2012, 05:12
I had to take a small business class in High school. It wasn't to hard the teacher taught us about economics and the stock market. It was easy to finish and I cant recall if it's still required today. Times change.

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June 18th, 2012, 09:48
Yeah, I wish much less emphasis was placed on it around here.
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June 18th, 2012, 10:22
Finance is available as a course but only for those who take it, something which only few ever does.

I find the idea that people in general need to know about finances to be odd. I understand that there are cultures that are pretty much based on finance just like there are cultures based on a religion and such cultures tend to demand every individual to know about it and those who know this stuff better than others are often privileged as a result. The problem is that such streamlining diminish everything else.

In a country with excess material resources it shouldn't be necessary to have skills about keeping such resources and know how to make more.

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June 18th, 2012, 14:22
I think it's pretty standard in the US that high schoolers take a half-year course in econ. Back in the day, it was a fairly rigorous (by high school standards) look, primarily focused on macro-econ. Accounting was offered as a separate elective for those wanting to get into that. In fact, econ was the "flunk out" course at my wife's high school, costing a few seniors their diploma each year. It will be a few years before the Wild Dogs get to take it, so I can't really say if the material has been watered down by the introduction of electric lighting.

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June 18th, 2012, 14:26
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Yeah, I wish much less emphasis was placed on it around here.
And how is Denmark doing economically these days? I was primarily wondering what if any sort of correlation there was to financial education and a countries economic condition.
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June 18th, 2012, 15:17
In Flanders (Belgium), or at least if it hasn't changed since I went, it really depends on the school.
First of all there are 3( or 4?) levels of education (ASO, TSO, KSO, and one more I think). ASO is General Education and is what you would need if you'd want to go to university. TSO is Technical Education and is basically vocational studies except for a few courses, which last an extra year and you can then go to uni to continue that. KSO is Arts Education, which includes history, arts, painting and other stuff I'm not too sure about. Similarly to TSO, you won't be allowed into university except for continuing in that direction.

ASO is considered the hardest and the 'better' one by a lot of people even though it only is better if you actually want to go to uni and to study whatever you want or if you want to spend time learning about geography as well as history and maths and physics and 3 languages and so on (I had 15 [official] subjects I think).

In ASO you get to choose what 'direction' you want to go in. I went for Maths-Sciences, so I got 7 hours of Maths and 3 hours of each of the sciences a week + all the other 'regular' subjects (Geography, History, Sports, Dutch, French,…) - some of the ones from other 'directions'. Other directions in my school included Economics + Languages and Culture Sciences (Psychology, Culture Studies).

Other schools have different directions. Some just have one, very big schools sometimes can offer up to 10.

However, before I got to choose my direction I had one year of basic economics, which basically covered balance sheets. Long explanation
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June 18th, 2012, 15:25
Originally Posted by CrazyIrish View Post
I was having a discussion with a friend about poverty and education. One of the topics was what little emphasis is given to learning about finances in public school in this country. Most students in the US will graduate high school without being taught anything about finances beyond how to balance a checkbook. I was curious if it was the same in other countries? And if it is given some real educational importance in your country, do you think it makes things better?
I have thought for years that finance should be taught in public school and part of graduation requirements.
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June 18th, 2012, 17:32
Originally Posted by CrazyIrish View Post
And how is Denmark doing economically these days? I was primarily wondering what if any sort of correlation there was to financial education and a countries economic condition.
I couldn't really tell you - except to say that I think we're better off than the majority, after the financial recession.

I think that has less to do with education than it has to do with being in a comfortable position.
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June 21st, 2012, 15:11
The economics they teach in most US high schools is a joke. The only thing really useful I learned in mine was how to balance a checkbook. They really should have a 'real world finance' course required that explains how credit cards work and how easy it is to get in trouble with compounding interest. Likewise, they should explain how saving early and often has huge rewards down the line.

Add in a 'how not to screw your future with social media' and we might produce graduates that are worth a shit.

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June 22nd, 2012, 14:42
I find it odd that people spend many years at school learning mathematics, but are often incapable of using it in the most simple ways in their own financial decisions - even something as simple as calculating the future value of an investment, given a fixed interest rate.

One might think that in a society that revolves around money and where some of the major life altering decisions we have to make involve finance (mortgages, pensions…) that the time value of money would be quite an important topic.

Perhaps even, some of the major financial screw ups that have taken place in the recent past might have been averted if politicians, company directors and the public in general had some idea of risk and reward and how money works in general.
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June 22nd, 2012, 14:46
You can't make people understand what they don't want to understand.

The financial recession was about money appearing out of thin air - and yet people did nothing - NOTHING - to stop the avalanche.

It's not about a lack of understanding, but the will to act.
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June 22nd, 2012, 14:57
That is true, but I think that attitude starts during education (and comes from parents as well). One of the reasons I have little sympathy for most people that have been 'screwed' by Adjustable Rate Mortgages is that so many of these people were willfully ignorant of the risk associated with those mortgages.

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June 22nd, 2012, 15:08
I have even less sympathy for the banks who were so eager to lend people money, when they knew exactly what was happening. Then we go and "save" them by giving them huge amounts of money to "stabilise" the economy.

It's a wonderful system.
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June 22nd, 2012, 15:23
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I have even less sympathy for the banks who were so eager to lend people money, when they knew exactly what was happening. Then we go and "save" them by giving them huge amounts of money to "stabilise" the economy.

It's a wonderful system.
Now now, let's not overlook the fact that Clinton's Community Reinvestment Act and his shyster buddies at ACORN did a fine job of throwing "wise investment" out the window by extorting the banks if they didn't offer some of those "shaky" loans.

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June 22nd, 2012, 15:29
I'm talking worldwide - not US only.

I doubt US banks needed to be exorted, given the cultural extra-obsessive relationship with money - but if you say so.

However, here in Denmark - I doubt the banks were under government pressure to cheat people. They did that because "everyone does it" - and it was just the norm. Typical human behavior.

The concept of a bank is absolutely insane when combined with human nature.
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June 22nd, 2012, 23:05
I know this will shock you but finance isn't a part of compulsory free education in Greece. Then again neither are debate classes so it's not a matter of priorities.

I'd just like to interject here and point out that I'm not going to say anything to spoil the mood, Chief. I'll just float here and watch. Don't mind me, just sitting here, floating and watching, that's me.
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