Some years ago there was a major buzz in German media about the open letter of a high school graduate. She complained that her school education had enabled her to analyze poems in several languages, but that she hadn’t learned how to rent an apartment (Link in German).
I found her complaint rather bizarre at the time.
For one, because I think it’s not a bad idea at all to acquire some “old-school” knowledge as well. But even more so since everyone can find vast amounts of information on practical things like renting an apartment on the internet today. That’s definitely no news to a contemporary graduate.
Every home is different
Generally I don’t feel that the schools are responsible for teaching you all you ever have to know. I should think part of that responsibility lies with the parents as well. But the areas and levels of knowledge will vary in every home, of course. My own parents were both teachers. Their perspective on economic matters was and is different from friend’s parents who owned a shop, for example. And as civil servants they didn’t have any experience with the statutory health insurance, or with corporate work contracts that I might have found helpful as a graduate.
With my own son I noticed that not all things concerning personal finance were as clear to him when he moved out as I had thought. But he was able to use us as his sparring partner in these matters. When he first signed a rental contract as a university student, for example. Or when he pondered about how much to contribute to his employers pension scheme.
An unfair advantage
So with more knowledge about personal finance, our son most probably got a head start into adult life, as far as money matters are concerned. As a mother, I’m obviously happy for him. But regarding society as a whole I think that’s very unjust. Which leads me to the conclusion that schools should be made responsible for teaching at least the basics after all. That’s the only way to reach all children equally.
Till that is the case – if ever – I would like to contribute my own little share via this platform. I’ll be digging into the topics you should know when you’re starting out on your own. If you’re an older reader: maybe you know someone who would find this information useful. I’d be happy to be of service to them.
Customized personal finance for graduates
This is a list of my posts providing you with the basic knowledge you need when starting your career and establishing your own household.
One note: The specifics of my posts will usually refer to the situation in Germany. But you should be able to get some value out of reading through the topics when you live in a different country as well. And the general principles of personal finance are pretty much universally applicable anyway.
Financial Independence Rocks!