Why Love and Money Lessons Should Start in High School
By Brian Page
September 11, 2017
Most students are nowhere near getting married or committing to a relationship. Still, it’s not too early to introduce them to money issues—and the work-arounds—that can surface when that day comes.
Why? Money disputes are a couple’s top source of stress and a leading cause of divorce. Four in five parents report financial strain in their marriage. Early exposure to the competing emotions that accompany financial decisions helps generate empathy among couples; financial literacy might one day save the relationship.
Yet financial literacy lessons today are largely divorced from lessons about relationship management. This year, in the school where I teach I set out to change the calculus.
Beginning next month, my high school students will meet with a financial therapist during a Google Hangout session that I will record and later share. Financial therapy is an up-and-coming field where professionals employ both psychological and financial expertise to help couples work through their money-related issues.
Alycia DeGraff, a marriage and family financial therapist in Austin, Texas, has graciously volunteered to meet with my students, who first will be asked to reflect on their own experiences with relationships and money. This might be an observation of their parents’ behavior or perhaps a sharing situation they confronted with a close friend.
Students will be asked to submit two questions. The first must address a potential issue that arises before marriage; the second, after vows. Students will vote for their favorite questions. During the Google Hangout session, DeGraff will answer the chosen questions while students take notes.
Students will be assigned to write a two-paragraph reflection of the conversation, explaining what strategies they learned and plan to put into practice going forward. I encourage teachers and parents to review my lesson.
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