A new focus on teaching personal finance in school is taking place, as many adults are unable to cover emergencies with savings and learning early to plan makes a difference.
At Gainesville Middle School in Georgia, eighth graders learned how to put together a budget in Janet Roland’s business and computer science class. It began with a sheet of instructions that Roland handed out.
“Congratulations!” the instructions said. “You have graduated college and have begun your career. Your salary is $36,000 per year. You have a second job … (it) pays you $400 per month.”
Students then were challenged to plan a personal budget using a spreadsheet on the computer, determining which expenses are variable and which are fixed. Roland prepared her students by having them look at pay stubs so they could understand taxes.
“You don’t get to bring all that money home,” she said.