To start off my learning journey into the world personal finance and financial literacy I think it is important to answer the question of WHY? WHY did I chose financial literacy as my topic of interest? WHY am I interested in looking at how personal finance is taught?
I do not teach Personal Finance. I do not teach Economics, Math, Social Studies, or any other subjects that teach personal finance or financial literacy skills. I am a Science teacher. I like to blow things up, dissect things, and build things.
Why, then, have I chose to focus a large portion of my Masters degree studies to these topics? In my 5 years of teaching (and 2 years spent on maternity leave) I have noticed that there is a lack of education provided in Saskatchewan in these topic areas. I am the product of the Saskatchewan education system and I am not confident in my own knowledge of personal finance and do not consider myself financially literate in many ways. It is also important to remember that I am university educated and come from a family with university educated parents. Even with this education I still struggle to create a balanced budget, which mortgage type is right for our family, and how important investments actually work. If I, with my own education along with the knowledge passed on to me from my family, struggle to answer these questions I believe there are many others in Saskatchewan that have the same struggles.
The media constantly reminds us of how much debt is carried by the average Canadian and how these averages are increasing. Managing personal finances is a task that is becoming increasingly complex in the modern world. It seems logical to me that we should be providing an education to our youth about personal finances in areas such as budgeting and financial planning, how credit works, how a mortgage works, and where to find unbiased financial information (or at least consume biased information critically). These are lessons that I have had to learn (mostly) on my own and I continuously see my peers making uneducated financial decisions that have huge impacts on their lives. I firmly believe that we live in a society where a lack of money is not the problem, but instead a lack of money management.
It is the lack of current education provided in Saskatchewan combined with my belief that there is a need for financial literacy education that lead me to choose this as an area of focus for my Masters studies. Over the next few months I will use this blog as an opportunity to track my thoughts and what I am learning for this introductory class.
“The number one problem in today’s generation and economy is the lack of financial literacy.” -Alan Greenspan, American Economist