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5 Reasons High School Students Should Be Taught About Finances

The fact is the overwhelming majority of Americans, and possibly people in other countries, do a bad job of handling their money properly. We tend to believe it’s because most people really don’t think about learning anything about finances until they get into trouble. If they did want to know more where would they go, besides a few blogs I know of or maybe an accounting firm? 🙂

David Robert Bliwas via Compfight

Obviously I was in high school in the past. I learned a lot of things I was never going to have any use for. Some of it I enjoyed, but since I never saw myself as becoming any kind of scientist or a historian, I’m thinking something I could have used, that would have made my early adult life easier, were lessons on personal finance. That would have helped me a great deal, not only when I had to go out on my own but even in college.

How? Let’s look at these 5 thoughts of mine:

1. The concept of college loans and interest.

We all know how much it can cost to go to college. Some kids believe that if they don’t go to a top name college that they’ll be looked down on in life and never get the job they want. The reality is there are a lot of successful and famous people who went to a state university where not only is the education very good but the costs can be drastically lower; in some states students qualify for a free education.

If students were taught about finances and long term debt in high school, they might understand the need to work harder and concentrate on getting a scholarship to help defray some of the costs of a college education. Many might realize that they could start at a community college and transfer if they still want a higher degree, saving thousands of dollars.

2. Understanding credit cards.

When I went to college, students weren’t offered credit cards like they are now. These days, some kids are being offered credit cards before they’ve graduated from high school. When you’re not fully educated, thinking about paying the minimum on a credit card seems like a no-brainer; who couldn’t afford a minimum of $25 a month?

What if more students understood the concept of compounding interest, and how long it takes to pay off bills when only paying the minimum amount? Would they accept the liability of paying a bill over the course of 11 years or try to get it paid off within 3 by making slightly higher payments? Maybe they’d understand that having more credit cards and paying minimum balances restricts them with long time serious debt that could affect their ability to buy a car or a house or even keep up with payments on other loans.

Julie Kertesz via Compfight

3. Monthly budgeting.

A friend of mine never had to worry about this until having a car accident on an icy road and had to buy my first car, as he received his first car as a gift from his parents. He quickly learned how fast his money was draining away trying to keep up with a $197 monthly car payment for the first time.

It might not sound like a lot of money these days, but in the 80’s that was a lot of money, especially when it was suddenly an unexpected payment. If he’s known about both budgeting and putting money away, as well as having a better car insurance plan, he might have been able to handle it better. In his case he lucked out by finding a different job that compensated for bigger bills, but that doesn’t happen for everyone.

4. Learning how to economize.

When you don’t have a lot of money, eating can be a complicated business. Not enough people are taught how to use coupons; even fewer are taught how to shop properly to help their money spread further so they can eat better.

For instance, some stores have days where they sell certain things for less money. Buying items like spaghetti and sauce, frozen vegetables and other items can add up to multiple meals at lower costs. Learning the importance of interpreting the cost of things based on the tags at the grocery store can save a lot of money when you know what you’re looking for. These are things almost everyone experiences early on; learning in high school could help everyone in some way.

5. Learning how to save money for your future.

When you’re young, you probably never learn anything about putting money away for your future. There’s always a warning signal in the news that Social Security might go away because it’s underfunded. Whether it does or not, the amount you get back might not be enough to take care of you when you’re ready to retire.

If students were taught about saving money, they would start putting away money earlier so the balance would have time to grow. Investing early allowed them to wait out the bad times because good times always come around, and they get used to putting money aside for it and might even feel comfortable increasing their monthly contribution.

Wouldn’t it be nice if young people learned some of these lessons while they could still benefit greatly from them? If your child’s school doesn’t teach it, either you should start teaching them or find a local source that does.

Your Financial Life Is On You

It’s hard relying on anyone else for our financial health. Whether it’s the government, our employer, our customers, the stock market or something else, when all is said and done it always falls back on the rest of us.

Marc via Compfight

You want to know a truth, one that might shock your foundation? It doesn’t matter what the government does when it comes to us. We have to be truthful and honest with ourselves about this.

If you don’t have much money right now then none of what’s coming means anything to you. If taxes go up yours won’t. If the ACA crashes and burns and you don’t have to pay for insurance anymore, eventually you’ll be paying money to someone regarding your health; that’s a given. If the government defaults on the debt ceiling that doesn’t impact anyone immediately except government workers; a tax increase might come or might not, but there’s nothing we can do about that.

The media does a great job of getting everyone stirred up on these “important issues”, but very few of them affect us as much as they say. If you end up having to pay a penalty for not having health care coverage if the ACA sticks around do you know how much that impacts you? Probably $360; yup, that’s it. If you have to pay the family rate you’re talking maybe $500, and that’s doubtful. Not quite catastrophic is it?

Here’s the thing. Our financial life is totally up to each and every one of us. If we take time to look at what we’re buying we might find that we’re actually paying more for less of the same thing. For instance, do you like Crystal Light? In most stores you’ll find that you can buy it either in 4 or 6 pack containers.

Most people think the less you buy the less it costs, but that’s not always true. The real truth is that price is sometimes affected by which product sells better. In this case, the 6 pack sells better than the 4 pack, so in most stores you’ll see that the 6 pack actually costs less per weight than the 4 pack does, which means you’re getting a better bargain on your purchase. If a pack of 4 costs $2.50, you’re paying 62.5 cents per pack, whereas if a pack of 6 costs $2.99 you’re paying 50 cents per container. Most people only look at price instead of cost, but cost is where you save money.

That’s the type of thing our culture has to get used to. Do you pay $3.50 for a coffee at Starbucks or do you buy something at the store and make your own for pennies a cup because it lasts a month? Do you go to a restaurant and pay $7.99 for a 1/2 pound burger with fries when you can buy a pound of 80% hamburger for $3.99, or 95% fat free for $4.99? Even if you bought the fries a pack costs $4.50 and gives you at least 6 servings.

We get to pick and choose what we’re willing to pay for things we like; no one has a problem with that. The problem comes when you can’t afford other things because you want what you want regardless if you can save money buying something else. Sometimes it’s important to find more economical ways to feed yourself and your family, ways that still allow you go to out from time to time because you’re spending money on your food budget more wisely.

In other words, we all have financial options we can avail ourselves of that will help our dollars go further if we decide to take that route. We all have ways of bringing more money into the house such as through a part time job, selling things we make or have laying around the house, offering services on things we’re good at, etc.

The government is there to help us help ourselves when we need it. Other than that, we all have the capacity to take care of ourselves. You can enjoy whatever you want to if you want to pay for it. If that’s the case, you have nothing to complain about. For some of us, we need to pick and choose what we feel is important to us that leaves no compromise on price, then compromise in other areas.

We can make our money go further, pay our bills, and live a pretty good life. Or we can sit around complaining about the government is or isn’t doing, complaining that we don’t have enough money, complaining that we can’t pay our bills, etc. Which person are you going to be?

5 Small Business Expenses Worth Paying For

One of the problems with having a small business is that sometimes you don’t have much of one of two things: time and cash. There never seems to be enough time to get everything taken care of that you want to get to, and even if you’re making money, there doesn’t seem to be enough for everything you need to pay for.

cleaning service expenses
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I can’t help you specifically with the time issue, but I can definitely help you start thinking better about the expenses side of things that actually might help you with time.
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5 Reasons You Might Need An Accountant

Because we’re an accounting firm, you might think this post is more self serving that helpful, but we assure you that our intentions are good. We’ve worked with a lot of people who did their own taxes and budgets and sometimes had some costly mistakes. It’s not as easy as it sounds to keep up with your own records, especially if your career isn’t in finance.

hire an accountant
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Because of that, and a few other things, we want to give 5 reasons why you might need an accountant. There are more, but we don’t want to overwhelm anyone. Let’s get started.
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5 Considerations To Have Before Taking Out A Loan

Having credit is crucial to getting pretty much anything of substance in the world. Even rich people don’t like spending their own money for things outright. The ability to get a loan to take care of things or to have things is a nice benefit.

financial credit
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Most people go into the loan process with one overriding fear; the ability to pay it back. It’s a valid fear and a major consideration but it’s not the only thing to consider when it comes to applying for a loan. There are many factors both before and after that people should consider before pushing forward. Here are 5 of those considerations:
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