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College Student Financial Literacy - Scary!

Barbara H

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I don't know.  I don't think I knew the answers to any of those questions when I was in college.  The interest rate (7%) on my student loan was an abstract concept until I started paying the loan back.


However, I grew up in a family that was financially conservative.  All 8 of my siblings are financially conservative.  And without a curriculum.  I remember an older sister saying she was denied some kind of a loan because her credit score was not good because she had not had any credit.  So, she got a credit card, got a small balance, and paid it off in installments to establish her good credit.


I do talk to ds.  I write down every credit card receipt in the checkbook as if it was a check.  When the bill comes, it's already been taken out of the checkbook.  We have skimmed over the credit card applications that come in the mail and point out the interest rates.  I don't know our mortgage interest rate.  I know it's dirt cheap (okay I just looked it up - 2.625%) because we refinanced last year.  I haven't had a car loan since ds was born.  I've generally had a decent income after college.  But, I've had stretches putting myself and dh through higher education where money was tight.  I/We were able to live within our means whether our means were large or small.  That is a lifestyle that would be difficult to teach with a curriculum, imo.

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  I/We were able to live within our means whether our means were large or small.  That is a lifestyle that would be difficult to teach with a curriculum, imo.


I agree what you model is most important and it is great the kids are seeing you keep track of your money - it would be great if every kid had that.


I'm a big supporter of all teens getting some financial literacy education so they can make well informed decisions. This stuff can be complicated and even people who don't intend to live above their means can make mistakes when they don't have good information.

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Our state actually requires personal finance in lieu of economics as a public school graduation requirement. It's not just college students that need to understand this, those that don't attend college can be ignorant and get in over their head as well (sheepishly raises my hand as being that young adult). Partially because of my experience, we've been covering financial literacy since ds was little. This summer we'll do his personal finance credit covering the topics that will be more relevant to his future. 


My college also requires a financial aid seminar for all first time borrowers in which they showed a similar type video and they explained the harsh realities of debt and interest rates and how not to use your student loan to finance a spring break trip, stuff like that. 


My parents modeled good financial management, but they never covered any of that with my sister or me. We knew where the emergency checkbook was and don't bother dad while he's doing taxes and that he never paid a bill late, but we had no clue how to manage any of it. This is kind of a hot button topic for me, because I feel like the bad financial choices I made late in my teens and early 20s are what hampered my lifestyle more than not attending college directly out of high school. It took years to get out from under them. 

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