We need to learn more about things that matter
Published 27/09/2015 | 02:30
It is said that a little knowledge can be dangerous. If that is true, I'd argue that no knowledge is downright catastrophic.
As a financial advisor, I see this virtually every working day of my life. Nothing kills me more than to hear a person say: "I don't know anything about money" - because that makes it hard to be in the driving seat of your own financial future.
That our kids come out of school knowing how to demonstrate a maths theorem but often not receiving any formal education on personal finance means we set them into a world where they are ill prepared for what they will meet.
It's time to take some of these less prescriptive aspects of education and put them into the curriculum.
There are several areas that need more focus which fall outside of the traditional 'three Rs'.
One big one is physical education and diet. We have rapidly rising obesity and in particular childhood obesity (19pc of three-year-olds are overweight) feeds into adult obesity.
We already have an obesity rate of nearly 66pc, according to the World Health Organisation. This may be as much as 90pc by 2030.
In the UK, the cost of obesity to the NHS alone is about £10bn (€13.6bn) a year - this is before you factor in second-round effects of lost productivity and sick leave.
Another area which our education system glosses over is personal finance. We might educate children about sex - but what about the daily routine of making ends meet?
You might ask what being overweight or not understanding money has to do with financial advice?
But they are all interlinked. People who are obese will face tougher health futures, this reduces earning capacity and the ability for them to provide for their loved ones.
There is a big lifetime cost of obesity - both to the individual and to society at large.
On the personal-finance front, the regular headlines about the inability of so many families to make ends meet shows that on some level we failed to ensure people had the right tools with which to make decisions.
But the solutions can be taught. Physical and dietary education matched with personal finance are things that our schools can help get right. Of course, parents should be front and centre - but with so many parents unable to get it right, how can they teach the kids?
This is part of why Jill Kerby and I have written Talking Money. It's a guide you can download for free at irishlife.ie or mortgagebrokers.ie, which brings people through some 'big ticket' money issues that matter.
On the exercise and food front, you'll have to look elsewhere - but simplifying personal finance can be easily resolved.
In fact, it's just one click away.
Sunday Indo Business