by Shivan Patel, HSFPP Teen Guest Writer
Shivam Patel, is a Bay Area high school sophomore. Having learned the importance of financial education early on, he taught himself financial literacy and is interested in getting his peers learning to. On weekends, you can catch him hiking national parks or reading.
My friends and I often find ourselves with lots of questions relating to personal finance, but no one to turn to. High schools don’t always have financial education courses and often leave their students wandering in the dark. As a consequence, my peers and I are left with unanswered questions and anxiety over our future.
Some of our questions are more on the technical side: How exactly do you manage the finances of a job? We know the basic of taxes and whatnot, but if my friends or I were to get a job right now, I think we’d be clueless about how exactly things work. For starters, how does our employer pay us? Do we have to ask for a check every other week, or can we set up a process to streamline the situation? We’re going to need to know this information sooner or later and knowing right now can make us more confident in getting a job. But our questions don’t stop there. We’re a curious bunch.
Some technical questions can be answered with a quick Google search. However, my peers and I are also interested in knowing what is best for our specific situations. Depending on the career paths we want to journey on, should we take out student loans to pay for a private university, or should we opt for the more economic decision of going to a local state college? These are the types of questions that Google searches can’t answer. The expertise of financial professionals can help us high schoolers make the best decision possible.
Speaking firsthand, I can confidently say that introducing some form of financial education — whether that be an official class or an after-school club — will give teens the resources to confidently take control of their financial futures. A teacher can easily parallel as a mentor and help answer the questions that high schoolers have. Today, we’re making due without these structured forms of personal financial literacy. Speaking on behalf of my fellow students, I can say we’d be a lot more self-assured if we woke up tomorrow with our questions answered.