We've all seen the mysterious sinkhole that seems to appear from nowhere and claim homes, streets, and yards. A void of unbelievable magnitude is opening and engulfing our young adults. And just as with the sinkhole, it's been hidden and building for years. This dangerous sinkhole: Financial ignorance. As late as one generation ago, you could send your children to school to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic and for the most part, they were educated. The banking and monetary system of the world had changed very little over the past one hundred years. You went to the bank and opened an account, either checking or saving, and then went on your way. All you had to manage to learn was how to write a check and how to balance your account. The end. I remember as a young girl working in my father's business. We might process a manual credit card transaction once every six months. People used checks or cash. You didn't need a financial degree to conduct business. Fast forward to the late nineties and the commercialization of the internet. Credit cards were more common, and the banks were introducing online banking and debit cards. There began to be a greater need for the young person to understand credit scores, internet access for banking, and the workings of the financial world. Move forward another decade or so, and you've got a full-blown crisis on your hands. Too many young people are making their way into a digital financial world and they have no formal education to deal with all the aspects of digital finance. It isn't like this just happened overnight. It's just that our education system, controlled in most aspects by the Federal government moves at the pace of a snail. If we're waiting on a federal mandate, we'll find our youth overwhelmed and victims of that sinkhole. We need programs incorporated into our high school curriculum that explain financial terms, teach our youth about their credit file, how to navigate the digital world of online banking and most importantly, how to protect their information. We truly need to wake up to this crisis and begin to teach our kids more than just the "3 R's"!
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