Day 545: Are You Managing Your Finances Practically?

This is something we do not learn in school. We do not learn how to draw up a budget and if we do, we find it difficult to stick to it. We find it difficult to determine what it is that we want versus what it is that we need and therefore spend our money more often on the things we want instead of the things we need. We do not have classes teaching us about how the tax system works and how it applies to us. We do not learn how to apply the mathematics we learn in school to our finances. We don't know how to say no to a salesperson who is selling something we can't actually afford. Most of the time we don't even realize that we won't be able to pay the bills until we get to the end of the month and realize that we don't have enough money.

It is easy to assume that this is rare, that it is only the uneducated who don't know how to manage their money. In reality it is rare for someone to teach you about money, about how to use it and how to plan for it. I was lucky enough to have my dad teach me how to use money from a young age, so it wasn't until recent years that I came to see how disturbingly lacking education about money really is. It's one of those things that people don't talk about because it is apparently rude to discuss your or anyone's finances in anything louder than a whisper.

Some people will spend money as soon as it enters their bank accounts and then try to squeeze through the rest of the month. Some people get way too much credit and spend years juggling repayments. 

It's really no wonder that we are having all of these financial crises - obviously ignoring the malformed implementation of the economic system. But that's another topic for another day.

Why do we not learn about managing our money in school? Why is this not mandatory? We get packed full of a whole lot of gloriously useless information and then drop kicked right out of school grounds. I wonder if there are some hidden spectators delighting in our hard landings in reality. Some people are lucky enough to have parents who bail them out of every financial pickle (alas, will they ever learn their lesson and learn how to manage their money effectively?), but most are not. They get a job, get a loan, get a car, get another loan, buy a bunch of furniture and clothing on credit, get a credit card (or 2) and then 6 months later they realize that they can't pay rent. What then? With no safety net there are few choices available to them.

This seems like an important thing to know, right? Why do so few people know how to do it then? I suppose it could be some grand conspiracy to keep people enslaved to debt while the fat cats roll around in their piles and piles of money in their mansions on their private islands. Maybe. Surely it's not just some simple oversight in the education planning committee? Surely whoever designed the education system thought that learning about Pi, sin, cos, velocity, geography, history, Macbeth and whatnot was far more important than learning how to survive in the world after leaving the comfort of your parents bosom. Right? Right.

Hmmm. This does seem like it was intentionally designed to keep the masses ignorant. But why? Who would do such a despicable thing? And how have we not noticed this going on? It can't be true! It just can't be!

Oh, really..?