Call it financial literacy

Call it financial literacy

Bianca Hartge-Hazelman

Call it financial literacy, money management, or personal finance – the subject is important but not enough senior high school students are learning about it in Australia and it’s a problem for everyone, particularly women.

In fact, maths, economics and commerce are elective subjects, so many students fly through school without knowing anything about money, credit cards, insurance, investing and or basic budgeting.

This puts many students on the back foot when it comes to money decisions, running businesses and ultimately contributing to the Australian economy.

Indeed it’s no wonder that credit card debt is rising, superannuation is often dubbed “confusing” and that many of us are invested in the Australian property market, because it’s the one asset class we grow up surrounded by.

It’s also the case that financial literacy remains a large problem for many women. Times have changed, more marriages end in divorce, there are also more women in the workforce, starting businesses and graduating from universities than ever before.

Yet women face gender pay gaps in certain industries, work in lower paid jobs on average because of time out of work to care for loved ones, have less superannuation and are more likely than men to find themselves couch-surfing or in poverty if they are single and in retirement.

Ask the New South Wales Department of Education if personal finance is taught in schools and they’ll say yes. Ask a teacher, or a student for that matter, and you get the feeling it’s also debatable, and depends on the school.

But truth is it’s actually not taught to everyone.

According to the NSW Board of Studies, learning about financial management is nowadays part of the curriculum in NSW schools but if you finished school before 2010 then you may have missed it.

In years 11 and 12 general maths is an elective subject and if you take it up, it covers what’s known as financial mathematics which delves into earning and managing money, investing money, taxation and even mobile phone plans, credit cards and insurances.

The only compulsory subject to complete a High School Certificate is English, perhaps it’s time for that to change.

We’ve teamed up with Bianca and women’s money magazine Financy to help bring education to women around how to grow their wealth.


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