Personal Finance at School

This news can make you feel that it should have been started in your time. The Government is thinking of starting a course on Investing in the schools in Std. XI/XII.

For me the first principle of investing is “better late than never”. But actually it is to “start early”. And when it comes to making money by investing, time is on the side of the youngsters.

Investing and the stock market will play a vital role in the future, irrespective of what the youngsters choose to do with their life.Whether they want to build a career in business, be a freelance artist, or whatever, knowing about managing their own money will give them freedom and choices in life that they wouldn’t otherwise have.

Actually investing is no rocket science that it is made out to be. Agreed that it is a bit complex, but the important aptitude too have is to “spot trends” and to “break away from patterns and convention”. And our youngsters excel in that.

Moreover, you don’t need to be a car mechanic to learn driving. Operating a car and servicing them may need an effort to understand the mechanics of the car. But you need to understand the functions of the steering, gear, clutch and accelerator only to learn driving. Like investing, it may appear daunting for the newbie. But leave him on the steering for a week and there he goes.

The ideas behind investing are really very basic. And you don’t need to know everything before you start putting some money. For the teenager, the biggest enemy is `inertia ; the tendency to do nothing’, says Bamford. To combat this, take a few steps to learn about investing, and then take a few steps to actually do it! “These can be the most profitable steps you’ve ever taken.” Janet Bamford in Street Wise from Bloomberg Press (www.bloomberg.com). “The great thing about investing is that you can start slowly, bit by bit, and get more deeply involved as you learn more.”

Critics might argue that teaching teenagers the nuances of financial markets is putting too much pressure too soon. But being protective of our children may hinder their growth. Throwing the baby into the swimming pool and letting him learn swimming might seem heartless. But it actually helps the child.

Ultimately it is important for all of us to take responsibility for one self. Managing your money is critical in the game of life. And instead of learning theory of history, civics, etc, investing will be one practical aspect of our education. And maybe it will help the youngsters to face the “fear” of stock market and the “greed” that it brings along, and make them better investors than us.

Bring on the course fast, GOI.

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