Did you learn anything about personal finance in college? Money management? Credit? Investing? Or did you take the required courses needed to graduate? For me these were POINTLESS classes like anthropology, calculus, and astronomy.
The longer I’m out of college the more disappointed I am with how much valuable and useful information is not included. When I graduated I felt very overwhelmed entering the real world, do you agree? Did I not listen in class because I was an expert procrastinator and studier? Maybe I didn’t take the right major? The short answer is yes and no. Although I could have applied myself more in college it’s a serious problem with our education system. Society tells us to go to school, get an education, find a job, and everything else will work out.
Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple!
There is a serious disconnect with what is taught in college and what is needed for you to succeed in the real world. It is the reason I started this blog and will be publishing my first book next month. I want to help bridge the gap of what isn’t taught in our education system. After graduation I realized I didn’t know much about real world topics like credit cards, investing, and financial planning.
Why did college not teach us how survive and thrive in the real world? Why aren’t these topics aren’t taught in school:
- Understanding your credit score and how to use credit cards responsibly.
- The countless steps and requirements to buy your first home.
- Understanding how to invest in the stock market.
In 2015 I was determined to learn more about personal finances and bought a handful of books on Amazon. It was my mission and has been every since, to personally learn more and help others along the way.
In my Amazon search for “personal finance” there were countless books to choose from. Some of them I had heard of (Millionaire Next Door & Think and Grow Rich) while others just ranked high in the search results. One title really caught my eye, “Why Didn’t They Teach Me This In School” written by Cary Siegel. The title summed up my post college life question, why didn’t they teach me this in school?
This is one of the easiest books to read and apply instantly to your life. The book itself is 180 pages of one page lessons that focus on money management for young adults.
Here is the overview of the book:
- Life Lessons
- Budget & Saving Lessons
- Spending Lessons
- Debt & Credit Card Lessons
- Investing Lessons
- Housing Lessons
- Insurance Lessons
- Quick Tips
Some are my five favorite financial lessons discussed in the book:
- Always have an emergency fund: You should always have 3-6 months of money in a savings account! Read more here.
- Develop and maintain a good credit rating: Your credit score is your adult report card. A good credit score will help you secure home loans, auto loans, ability to rent an apartment and your future employment.
- Invest in your 401K (at least to employer match): Your 401K will be one of the primary accounts used to withdraw money from in retirement. Take advantage of the money your employer matches.
- Know your score (net worth): I’ve been a huge fan of net worth tracking since I started in 2015. It’s also been my most popular blog post and featured on Rockstar Finance. Read it here.
- Don’t keep up with the joneses (they’re going broke): Don’t try to impress people by spending money on nice cars or houses. Focus on your budget, your spending, and your goals!
By luck and networking I was able to get in touch with the author through a director at work and speak with him on multiple occasions.Originally this book was intended as a guide to pass along to his children. But he quickly realized it would be an invaluable resource to thousands of others and decided to publish with Amazon & Create Space.
Cary was generous enough to answer a few questions to further elaborate on his book.
Super Millennial Q:
Love your book and how easy it was to implement into my life instantly! A lot of my readers are still working on paying off student loan debt from college. Of your 99 lessons what would be the most important to someone in their 20’s or early 30’s?
Always live below your means!
Super Millennial Q:
Why do you think personal finance isn’t a subject in school? Would you make it a requirement in high school or college?
- It’s just not a priority for schools.
- In most schools it’s not even on the school’s radar.
- Even if is was a priority, it takes a lot to change curriculum requirements.
- Most importantly, it’s not a priority for parents. If it was, they would push it as requirement for schools. And, yes it should be a requirement for elementary, middle and high schools high school along with college.
Super Millennial Q:
What do you think is the biggest mistake people make planning for their future? Not starting soon enough, saving enough or something else?
Getting in debt at an early age. The question to graduating college students isn’t “Do you have any debt?” it’s “How much debt do you have?” Don’t use a credit card until you can pay it off every single month!
Super Millennial Q:
Any other thoughts or advice (other than reading your book)?
Don’t be psyched out about money management. Most people are intimidated about money so they don’t take the time to learn more about their options. Instead take one hour of your week (every week) to read or talk to someone you respect about money management. The average teenager spends 9 hours a day (yes – a day) on their smart phone. I’m just asking for 1 hour a week to use their smart phone to learn about an important subject.
Overall this is one of my favorite finance books I’ve ever read and would HIGHLY recommend it to everyone else. The $10.70 of the book is one of the best investments you can ever make in yourself. The book is easy to read, easy to implement, and will serve as a financial guide to your life. If college was half this useful our society would be much more financial savvy. Thanks Cary for a great book and your help in writing the post.