By Madi Miller
Assistant Broadcast Producer
We should be required to take a personal finance class in order to learn how to manage our money wisely.
Colleges are not great help for money management by leaving students with heaping loads of debt before they even begin their career. The average student loan debt in Texas is $24,030 according to CNN Money.
Many students have to have jobs while in college just to make it through, but some can get by with what their parents are generous enough to give them. Both types of students still need to take a class for their own benefit.
I cannot stand math classes and a personal finance class is low on my list of priorities, but it should not be. I am realizing now, as a senior, that I am going to be on my own in just a few short months and I am not going to have my parents calling me everyday reminding me to pay my credit card bills or making sure that I have enough money in my bank account to pay my rent.
By taking a personal finance class, students would be offered real world examples of how to manage their money and the opportunity to gain knowledge about budgets, mortgages, interest rates, taxes and how all of those and other things fit together in the big puzzle that is finances.
This class would not be a pass or fail like Chapel, but rather, it would be a class that you have to work to earn the grade and learn finances in the process. While Baylor does offer a personal finance class BUS 3302, it is not mandatory.
Many students do not even know what a credit score is or how to create one. To me, this is huge. If students plan to rent an apartment, buy a new car or make any major purchase after college, they have to have a good credit score which is between 700 and 800. The only way to have a good credit score is to use credit cards and pay your bills on time according to myfico.com.
But, how do you pay those bills without knowing how much money you have? This is where learning to budget comes in. Most students will probably tell you that they do not make themselves a monthly budget. They just hope there is money in their account when they get to the grocery store.
I receive a certain amount of money from my parents each month. I also work and have an income. I put certain amounts of money into savings from each paycheck so I am able to pay bills later on and I draw interest from that savings account. If it were not for my mom teaching me all these things, my bank account would be full of money that I have no idea what to do with and not drawing interest in the way that it should. But, since I have a mom that realized soon enough that I did not know how to manage my own money, she took the initiative and started teaching me when I came to college.
Most researchers believe that students should learn financial literacy over a period of time longer than just a semester. I agree with them, but this may not be feasible due to graduation schedules and other things that factor into graduating on time.
My mom still pushes me to take a personal finance class and I think she is right. Although I manage my money well, I still know very little in comparison to what I would know if I took this class.
This is why it should be mandatory to take such a class. Students do not realize how little they know about finances until they get out in the real world and have to deal with it on their own.
By taking a personal finance class, it would better prepare them for what is coming and start their money managing skills before they put their degree to use.
Madi Miller is a senior double major in journalism and film and digital media from Prosper. She is the assistant broadcast producer for the Lariat.