HOT TOPIC: Banking
Volume 3, Issue 21 - February 11, 2007

"Banking, money and economics are often treated as the ugly stepchildren of the Social Studies. Not as glamorous as history or as concrete as geography, it tends to get a passing treatment as it incidentally pops up in the curriculum. Perhaps it is because its concepts tend to be more sophisticated and harder to master. Or maybe it's because it seems as much a kin to Math as it does the humanities. Whatever the reason, banking does not get its due in the classroom.

Nonetheless, there is a pressing need in our nation to teach students how to handle and manage their finances. Americans are becoming increasingly financially illiterate, debt-laden, and without savings. The number of bankruptcy filings continues to grow and half of all Americans under the age of fifty have less than $10,000 in savings. In short, we are not prepared for an economic downturn in our future.

College students are demonstrating a proclivity for spending, with 78% using as many as three credit cards with an average balance of more than $2,500. One-sixth of these students actually have a balance of up to $7,000. Graduate students fare no better, with 95% using up to four credit cards with an average balance of more than $4,500. One-fifth of these students are in debt up to $15,000! We have a social and moral responsibility to prepare our students for responsible money management as they prepare for the adult work force.

Thankfully there are fabulous resources online to help teach students the value of money, practice skills for banking and managing finances, and internalize concepts for planning and saving for the future. This week’s edition offers the best collection of banking resources I have ever found online. As more financial corporations are giving back by developing free economic education resources for the Web, there is more than ever for us to share with parents and students. We all benefit from the quality and variety of these programs!

I hope you can make use of this week’s outstanding collection of online banking resources."

©2005 Walter McKenzie

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