I'm 100% with you on:
> financial planning should be a public school subject in every grade from K through 12 to teach these skills.
Even though I suspect you are extrapolating from anecdote and it's just not true for most poor people, I would still favour that as it can only help (I doubt it is a cure, but it may help make a cure easier to reach).
> So maybe ask yourself - why isn't it ? Why is there hardly a public school on earth that teaches the subject of financial management at all ?
I agree too it's not a a "cure" - some people, probably most, will AT LEAST try out the "easier way" to confirm for themselves that it really is stupid. Some will do dumb often no matter what they are taught. But damn we should be teaching this stuff.
I was happy to learn the other day that high schools ARE starting to teach it much more. I took a class from one particular provider that was really good. Their high school has really caught on in the last few years - about 30% of high schools now teach their curriculum.
Particularly they teach what you described as "Why do we not teach people how interest works - and how evil credit cards are". They basically teach that any debt other than a mortgage is quite suspect, and Capital One is a trap.
> without that resource, the elites would make rather less money ? I'm not even sure that's true, cheaper labour does save a business money - but it also costs it income.
Their are of course some predatory businesses. pay day lenders come to mind. In general, "business" probably does a lot better selling to people who can afford iPads and cars than to people who can't. I think -most- businesses do better when everyone's economic situation is better.
You asked about my family history. In brief, my dad's family was extremely poor by US standards. His childhood home had no floor, just the dirt. They ate meat on Sundays, rabbits or squirrels they killed. His first saw a toothbrush when he was about six or eight years old. He became very successful financially, mostly by working extremely hard. Initially the Navy offered the opportunity to go from nothing to something, if he was willing to work for it. After the Navy he worked for companies. Once the whole family went with him for business trip, on the corporate jet. When he died, when I was seven, my mom re-entered the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom for several years. She worked extremely hard to maintain a similar standard of living.
My parents didn't teach me much about personal finance - the trap of credit cards and note lots, etc. heck, my mom was at work until late, so we kids were basically home alone. We did see the example of hard work. From a young age I took it upon myself to learn about compound interest, etc, reading Kiplinger's magazine when I was twelve.
I basically thought that because my parents were did pretty well financially, I would too. Like it was automatic that successful parents have successful kids, as if the amount of my paycheck and savings account were in my DNA. I would have known better if I had thought about how my dad grew up. His parents were among the poorest of the poor in America, he was the vice president of an oil company. Since having upper middle-class parents doesn't provide automatic success, at 20 years old I was homeless. I lived in the empty lot behind the Target store, along with the people who panhandled on the street corner.
Over the next ten years I made some good decisions and some bad. I owned multiple cars, then sometimes had to hide one from the repo man. By about ten years ago I had already made most of the mistakes someone can make, so I began to make smart financial decisions most of the time.
I'll close with these two thoughts:
> you've been raised by people who had limited choices and even more limited finances - and thus had neither the means nor the ***possibility*** of learning good financial planning.
My dad's backwoods upbringing made it -harder- for him to learn the most effective skills and habits. It didn't make it impossible. He did it. I didn't learn much of that stuff from my parents, but ten years after being on my own I started learning in earnest. It's *easier* for some and *harder* for others. The *possibility* is there for anyone who wants it enough to prioritize it. My facial birth defects made it harder for me to get a girlfriend, but I got a wife, twice. We all have different challenges.
The two biggest things I messed up, where I hope to teach my daughter better, are a) think long-term (delayed gratification) and b) pay yourself first (save/invest the FIRST 10%-15% of income). Dave Ramsey's class and podcasts have been very helpful to me in filling out the details.