School has been in session for a week or so now.
The Internet was loaded with cartoons of parents welcoming the start of school and the return of their kids to a routine that did not conflict with the parents.
Of course, parents who home-school their kids do not have the luxury to watch the kids climb on the school bus and drive off for seven hours of freedom.
With the start of school comes the Facebook posts of what should be taught in school. If only there was more ( fill in the blank) our kids would be smarter than us, stronger than us or morally superior to us.
My favorite Facebook post is that balancing a checkbook, simple car maintenance, how and when to invest, the value of life insurance should replace Algebra 2 in high school.
Well, years ago those things were taught, by parents, at home. I am no fan of Algebra 2 nor Trigonometry but let’s say some things need to be taught by parents to their kids.
Many people I know never balanced a checkbook in their entire life. The use of check cards may have rendered that skill irrelevant for our times.
Electronic banking, where you can check you bank balance every day, appears to be the way to go. It is available on your smart phone and it gives you an up-to-date view of your money. No more waiting for the monthly statement to arrive by snail mail. I guess the best advice for the kids is don’t spend more money than you can take in.
Simple car maintenance is another subject that is proposed for our school kids. Times have changed there, also. You used to get a full spare tire with your car. You also had the spare tire placed inside the trunk with the car jack. If you had a flat tire you got the tire, jack and hubcap wrench all out of the same place.
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Now your spare tire is a small weird looking thing, good for 50 miles or so, and your tire changing equipment may be under the back seat. No thanks, that is what I have road service for.
Also if you open the hood of your car or truck and look at the engine, good luck finding out what goes where. You might be able to add windshield washer fluid and perhaps oil to your car if you can figure out where it goes. That is often a big if.
Also if you need to “jump” your battery, the battery often is covered by something. If you are so unfortunate to jump the car battery wrong in the past you got a shower of sparks. No if you are really unlucky you might fry the electrical components or computers in your car. Yes I know that may or may not happen, but it is something you should be aware of.
Teaching your kids how to invest and have a secure financial plan could be easy. Just tell them not to smoke, vape, drink or overspend their budget. They should also set aside 5 percent of their salary to put in an investment. But what do invest in? Saving bonds? Annuities? CDs? Offshore oil exploration? Gold and silver to guard against hyperinflation?
We adults probably did not do too well in our own investments. So what advice to give a kid? Tell them to go see a good certified financial planner. Set aside money for a Roth IRA or a tax-sheltered annuity. Get help early in life and set a course for themselves and stay with it.
One of the chestnuts on many social media platforms says “ You cannot raise your children how your parents raised you, because they raised you for a world that no longer exists.”
I guess in many ways I agree with that. We do still live in a world that accepts the basics. A movie line proclaims “be nice until the time comes not to be nice.” That is a well-founded premise for our time.
Algebra 2 may come and go, but the Golden Rule is a fact of life. That is something we can all teach our kids.