Saturday, October 29

Expanding, extending, setting up and pushing forward

Curiously, we don't educate our kids in England in basic personal finance education. I still fail to understand the arguments against it, if there is one thing that people need to know, its personal finances, specially given the issues around too much credit, too little savings, too much debt, its not good. Within LSE SIFE, the chaps are trying to expand the usage of trading futures game, the game which helps to teach kids about economics and investments. Look here for what our cousins over the pond are doing: We should learn from them.

Virginia. When the state of Virginia moved to require financial literacy for its high school students, it was met with some resistance. Some felt that the material could be adequately covered in math and civics courses, while local school boards didn’t appreciate being told what to teach by the state. At this time though, Virginia does have a curriculum for middle and high school students that covers topics like opening an account at a financial institution, balancing a checkbook and filling out a loan application. Additional topics include consumer rights and responsibilities, debt management and understanding contracts.

Pennsylvania. One high school is adding a course, but doesn’t have the funding to hire more staff.

Maryland. Several years ago, a Maryland school board president expressed concern that a single course wouldn’t be enough to fully educate students about financial matters. He also pointed out that the course is relatively expensive at $600,000 — and he feared it wouldn’t be effective.

Missouri. Students in Missouri can take a personal finance class in the tenth, eleventh or twelfth grades. They study budgeting, banking services, and saving and investing. Other themes include credit and consumer skills. Also, goals and decision making as well as career planning are covered.

Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute is worried that the state’s lack of a requirement for economics and personal finance classes and inadequate number of trained teachers for the subjects will be detrimental to the residents and to Wisconsin’s overall economy.

Tennessee. Students here are expected to learn about money management, income, saving and investing, and credit and spending.

Utah. Utah teaches its students about basic budgeting, investments and even bankruptcy education.

Illinois. This state requires a consumer education course of 50 minutes a day for nine weeks for its high schools. The students are taught about credit scoring, income taxes and the role of consumers.

Georgia. They have an economics course that incorporates personal finance into one of its themes.

Got some major initiatives brewing with LSE SIFE as well, lets see what happens. SIFE Nottingham is also working with us to operationalise the training school with South Notts college with contributions of technology from the IT4CH charity. That’s very promising.

What else has been happening? Well, as I mentioned last week, I am hoping to help this new charity which does sterling work here in UK schools and helps to improve literacy in West Bengal, India. Had some good conversations around how best to structure the board, what do you need in terms of trustees and their skills, etc. etc. I also cautioned about operating in India, its not a trivial exercise and India is scattered with wastelands of foreign charities who came to grief. For example, see here. Also see the original article on the Bill Gates imbroglio. If such a brilliantly managed and funded charity can come to grief, then smaller ones are far too easily screwed up.

The response to us asking for more women trustees for IT4CH has been fantabulous, we now have 3 absolutely brilliant ladies who are interested in helping out with exciting projects. Cant wait till the trustee meeting on the 9th of November to introduce them to the rest of the gang and take this forward.

We also met with somebody from my old alma mater, Manchester Business School and figured out some good ways to take the alumni bit ahead with the firm.

Much to do, so little time…

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