What They Don’t Teach You in Post-Secondary

stack-of-books-images-book-stack-1We walk through life with all these expectations placed on our shoulders. At times, we may feel that these expectations are more than we can realistically handle or have the knowledge to deal with. As a student in post-secondary I can attest to this. Every post-secondary student has to face adversity and challenges bigger and tougher than they could ever imagine facing.

But I guess that’s part of post-secondary. Yes, you’re getting an education in a field of interest that will prepare you for your career, but you’re also facing hurdles that look too high to jump over until you’ve actually jumped over them and landed on the other side.

So while post-secondary makes you tough, teaches you how to maximize your caffeine intake for optimal lucidness while studying for midterms, it fails to prepare financially.

The concept of whose responsibility is it to teach youth about personal finance is a concept in which you can listen to in Episode 11. Because the elementary and high school curriculum barely cover the basics, the last glimpse of hope at a formal education in personal finance is post-secondary intuitions.

Now don’t go telling me that all the commerce students have a leg up on the general post-secondary population, because I can confirm for you first hand, with my minor in business, and the slew of accounting and finance classes that I’ve taken, this faculty doesn’t in any way direct you in how to handle your personal finances from saving to spending, when and how you should start saving for retirement, what your risk tolerance is, or how you should invest your money. TFSA, RESP, segregated fund, non-registered, registered, disability insurance, life insurance… seriously, how is the average student is supposed to know the difference?

Yet society acts so surprised when twenty, thirty and forty year olds make poor financial decisions such as buying a house with a mortgage that the individual will never be able to pay off. The unfortunate reality is, a majority of youth today may in fact never have the opportunity to gain a full spectrum of financial tools for their personal finance toolbox, and, as life throws them scenarios that require financial action, they will have to rely on trial and error, failure and success as a guiding compass.

Through my summer spent at a financial advisory firm I learned early on that what the personal finance knowledge I was learning wasn’t something being taught elsewhere.  I have learned an immense amount about investments, saving, spending and insurance, yet have barely brushed on the all the confusion that makes up the personal finance world. And all this made me realize one thing: why isn’t personal finance, something that can significantly shape your future and determine how well you succeed financially, more of a priority within post-secondary institutions?

Until the post-secondary world wakes up and realizes that they are inadequately supporting and teaching their students personal finance, it’s so critical to take the initiative yourself to become financially educated. I think it’s so important to understand what your financial goals are and why. It’s crucial to do your research and understand personal finance in a way that resonates with you. Trevor and I hope that, through this podcast, we can provide you valuable resources and strategies.

It’s so important to reach out to a professional or a financially savvy individual to better understand the impact your financial decisions have on your life. Because whether we like it or not, being financially responsible is something that we might not feel ready for, but need to be. Making irresponsible financial decisions can make or break us and really shape our future, making it so critical to be aware and alert of the consequences of your financial actions. So dig out your flashlight and shine some light on the world of personal finances, and you’ll soon realize that it’s not as terrifying or mystifying as you thought it out to be.

– Courtney

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