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Monday, April 6, 2020

OPINION: Money on my mind

How many of us want to be employed when we graduate? Hopefully all of us. That’s why we’re all in college and why we’re paying thousands of dollars to be here. By being at Western, we are investing in our future. But where along the road of education have we been educated about how to actually invest monetarily?

We don’t remember having a class in high school that brought up topics such as investing, loans, 401k plans, insurance or how to do our taxes. In fact, according to a study done by EverFi and Higher One [on Moneymattersoncampus].org, 17 states mandate financial literacy to graduate high school, however only 40 percent of students from these states actually said they took a financial literacy course.

There were plenty of classes about high-level math, almost entirely inapplicable to anything outside academia, but the numbers that mattered never made an appearance in the classroom. That being said, even if they would have taught us that stuff in high school, none of us would likely even remember it by now.

Western offers Finance 215 and 216, which cover things such as basic budgeting and investing, but how many students actually take it? Western is a liberal arts college, meaning students are able to choose any classes they want within the variety of requirements. But is personal finance important enough that it should be required by all majors?

Now, this isn’t to say there aren’t a wide variety of students who are knowledgeable on these topics. Perhaps their parents taught them, or they’re a business major and have a well-rounded education in investment and taxes. But this isn’t the case for the majority of students, and having the ability to manage one’s finances is applicable to everyone.

If you’re going to go into the “real world” and you’re going to get a “real job” you need to know how to handle your money. The plethora of bills we acquire and interest we accrue while going to school can be incredibly daunting. Between student loans, rent and any meager income we’re getting from our jobs, we’re bombarded with dealing with money and many of us don’t know how to handle it.

Part of being at a university and getting a liberal arts education is that you get to choose to what you learn. Perhaps it’s also the university’s job to prepare us for the world of employment while we are here. It isn’t a complaint toward our institution, but maybe it could be valid to require students to take a class that will prepare them for the requirements of being an adult: dealing with money and not losing it all.

The editorial board is composed of Anna Jentoft, Dylan Green, Brandon Stone and Stephanie Villiers.

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