Change is the end result of - Leo Buscaglia
Recent studies have shown that a larger percentage of individuals are pursuing higher education compared to the past. With this being the case, you would think that people would be increasing their financial literacy as well. Today, we discuss whether “Education = Success” is a fad or a fact.
Well, studies show that 70% of Americans (7 out of 10 Americans) are currently having a hard time tackling their finances. Most people are brought up with the belief that getting as educated and working hard will lead to a successful life. In other words, Education = Success.
Clearly, in this case, “Education = Success” comes with an Asterix. Let’s break down this rule and try to make some sense out of it.
What is education?
In this context, defining what we mean by education can provide us with a direction towards an answer. Is the education we are talking about, our formal education (school, university, etc.)? Or, are we just talking about education in general, garnering knowledge across certain subjects? The studies mentioned above were all referencing to secular education. This means, more and more people are striving to complete their primary formal education. In retrospect, this should be a good thing, right? It should…help us become more successful as a society? We come full circle towards the same question, why are these people struggling so much when it comes to finances?
“The average total price for a 4-year degree is approximately $122,000.” – www.educationdata.org (2019)
It is one of the most stressful decisions for a student, and if it weren’t for a mix of scholarships, student loans, or aids from the institution itself – the numbers of people getting educated would be quite low.
It has become effortless to take loans as a student, so one of the main reasons that people are struggling financially is because they are all working to clear these loans in the focal years of their lives. Instead of starting at 0, they are starting in the negative.
What is success?
Dictionary definition suggests that “success” is the “accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” A leading question to this would be – what if our aim is to be successful? How do we define success if the goal is to be successful? What it means for us to be successful, can go into a philosophical explanation. However, to keep it basic, let us look at the necessities.
The pyramid above signifies some of the most essential things that contribute to our quality of life.
Our physical, mental, and emotional health are the main aspects of our well-being. Paired with understanding our purpose, identifying what we love, and eventually blooming what we love into flourishing careers, defines a “a good life.” For most people. Additionally, if these flourishing careers are helping us live financially healthy lives, if not all, then at least most of us should be successful, right? Not quite, this leads to our last dissection.
Is the education system providing us the tools to succeed?
There seems to be a loophole in our education system. It allows us to understand what direction we want to take in our lives in terms of career, however, the rest seems to be a blur. We’re barely taught to take care of ourselves mentally or emotionally, and there are hardly any schools that teach financial education.
One reason might be that we don’t have enough teachers who know the nitty-gritty about how to be good with their finances. “Experience” is an excellent teacher – that is how most of us have learned these things, but that comes with a steep price. We could certainly have a more prosperous society if we have easy-to-understand financial education curriculums for children in school and a more advanced one in higher education facilities.
While we can’t particularly alter the education system all by ourselves since it has been set-in-stone for several years, we can look towards taking matters into our own hands. There are several resources online that can be taken advantage of – blogs, short courses, books that can be read about an array of topics. Specifically, in this generation, we have the world at our fingertips and there are more than enough resources that can even be accessed for free (due to the COVID-19 circumstances).
You may able to make all the money you desire through attaining that job you’ve always wanted, but there is a small guarantee that you’ll be able to build wealth if you’re not aware of the management that goes into it. Maintaining and growing wealth are just as critical earning that wealth. We’re never been taught these things in our educational systems, so even realizing that financial education lacking, can be considered a big leap into a “successful” future.