Never has there been such an availability of financial technology: apps for investing, apps for budgeting, apps for retirement planning and, of course, apps for banking. So why do we have fewer and fewer young adults prepared to take financial responsibility? The answer lies somewhere between our education curriculum and real-world application.
Children as young as 2 and 3 are able to access and use their parents' iPhones. If you've ever watched the little tots, you've been amazed at how quickly they adapt to technology. But fast forward 15 years, and now you're incredulous at how little they understand of the real-world application of technology as it relates to their finances. Many of the same young people that can zoom through Pokemon and Minecraft have no idea how to budget monthly expenses, or even balance their checkbook. How did this happen and how do we, as a society, begin to fix it?
Digital Pay — The Never-Ending Money Tree
It seems that a connection was broken with the switch from cash to electronic payment. There was something very real about cash in hand: When it was gone, it was gone. Today, thanks to debit, credit and electronic payments, that connection is no longer as visible. The young adults, unfamiliar with the consequences of debt overload, are often tempted to spend beyond their means. We might want to offer real-world role playing (paired with the necessary technology) in order to better prepare our teens to become more financially savvy adults. Maybe we could call it Personal Accounting Basics Virtual Application?
20th-Century Skill Sets Aren't Enough for the 21st-Century Adult
The 21st century is a digital world and we're confronted with new and exciting opportunity. We now even have a new digital currency, bitcoin. But are we prepared for all the electronic and digital dangers that lurk in this new environment? Identity theft, email scams and cybercrime have rushed in right alongside new opportunity. A 2016 Identity Fraud Study revealed that 13.1 million people were victims of identity fraud. That's 1 in every 20 adult persons in the United States. As we're teaching economics, how about including Cybercrime 101?
Our Teenagers' Life Will Be Ruled by Their Credit Score
Everything our teenagers need to function as responsible adults will be affected by their credit score. Personal loans aren't the only areas impacted: insurance, credit cards and utilities are as well. Understanding, protecting and maintaining an excellent credit score has never been more important. So why aren't we including this as a class, right alongside Computer Keyboarding?
A financial mind is a terrible thing to waste!