What school doesn’t teach you

One way education is often described is as a way of ‘preparing you for life in the outside world’.

In reality, however, there are many areas in which it falls short of hitting the mark.

Take money, for example. In school, you are taught how to add, subtract, divide and even do the wizardry which is algebra. However, you are taught nothing which would help you identify how to best save or invest your money; what you will be taxed on, and when you are exempt; or even how to apply for a loan or mortgage.

When I had my first job I had several questions about tax, which I posed to my dad. His response was ‘shouldn’t you know this?’ as if it was knowledge that should just be inherent. To me it has always seemed clear that this should be something talked about in school – not advising children on what to do with their money, but making them aware of how the system works, what an ISA is, or a savings account or stocks and shares.

Often, as a young adult it can feel like you simply get swept along regarding things you don’t feel you know enough about – going for the account the bank suggests instead of shopping around, renting a house without knowing what is or is not reasonable in a tenancy agreement.

Politics is another area that seems glossed over in school. By the time 18 comes around, many teenagers don’t understand how voting works, or even understand what the different parties stand for.

There is lots of talk about what a bad and unfair situation our generation is in, how we may never own our own houses, have healthy pensions etc. And while there are many out there who do take the time to educate themselves, would it not be better to help them get off to as best and money-savvy a start as they can? I know I’d use this knowledge much more than I have ever used Pythagoras.


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