Posted by Tim Stobbs on November 6, 2007
It’s occurred to me that despite the idea coming up several times by various people over the years, there never has been a serious attempt to get personal finance as part of the basic high school curriculum in every school in North America. Why is that? Then it hit me. Perhaps the better question is who has an interest it in not happening?
After that question rolled into my head I started to give the matter some serious thought. Then it occurred to me what would happen if everyone knew about personal finance and most of them followed it. There is a huge number of companies that would out billions of dollars in easy money.
No more just signing their mortgage renewal forms from the bank, people would actually negotiate their rate. Then they would insist on free banking and high interest chequing accounts. Before you know it the poor bank wouldn’t be able to keep having record profits year after year. Then think about all those poor mutual fund salesmen, we won’t buy a fund with a MER over 1%. Then the insurance companies couldn’t sell us too much insurance for things we don’t need. Most of us would be living in our means so the big screen TV manufactures and the SUV producers would lose millions in sales. Then worst of all the poor credit card companies would have almost no interest charges and the pay day loan industry would vanish.
To put it bluntly there are a whole lot of people who are making a living off of everyone’s stupidity: including me and you. You don’t believe me? Then please show me which mutual funds that you own that don’t actually have a single bank, insurance or financial service stock as part of their mix. Even if you manage to pass that one, you are telling me you don’t own any energy stocks which benefit from North America’s addiction to oil? So let’s face it. We the smart people that understand just a little bit of personal finance are making a killing off the stupidity of everyone else.
Are you feeling guilty yet? Because I’m not. The reality is there is more than enough tools out there to get educated if you have even the slightest interest. The only reason people are dumb is they have chosen to be that way. If you don’t believe try a few Google searches like “save money” which gives you 2.91 million websites while “personal finance” gives you 13.6 million websites. The fact you’re even reading this post proves you managed to do it, so why can’t your neighbor? Because they chose not to. Whether the choice is conscious or not would be an interesting psychological debate, but in the end we need stupid people to make money off of so you and I are the reason there is no universal financial education.
This post is now part of the 126th edition of the carnival of personal finance.