Thursday, November 8, 2007

Some thoughts on managing personal finances

As someone that is pretty well versed in debt and credit cards and whatnot I am still always trying to learn new things, whether it is about budget planning or consumer protection laws or whatever.

I feel like as consumers that we are left in the dark a lot of the time when it comes to personal finances. I mean, we do not get a real education on finances and managing our money when we are in high school or middle school. Then we get to college and are bombarded with credit card applications and the promise of a free t-shirt or frisbee just for filling out the app.

The next thing we know, we are getting all of these credit card bills, but they only want us to pay $15 or so a month. That is cool, or so we think. Then we get out of school, we have to start paying on our student loans, we get rent payments and all these other bills and it gets overwhelming. Then maybe we miss a payment. Then what happens down the road? Collections calls from various collection agencies. And we are never told about fair debt collection practices. We do not know what our rights are and such.

And when we go to get car insurance or a cell phone or even sign up with the electric company we are hit with a hefty deposit because we have a low credit score and that is how we learn what a credit score is. See, the system is really all wrong here. And actually is it kind of backwards too.

We should be learning all of the important stuff before we get to college and before we even get that first job at age 16. We should taught in school the basics of managing our personal finances. They should teach us about budgeting and about the importance of saving and how compound interest can really work for us. And they should even touch on investing as well. They really need to prepare people for the real world when it comes to personal finances. But, they do not.

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