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Parth Asawa: Financial Literacy

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We learn personal financial literacy at an early age, right? Actually, most don’t and Parth Asawa says that has got to change.

I remember going to the bank with my dad. It wasn’t often that I went with him as a teenager, though I was a frequent flier as a little kid (they had free lollipops!).

I remember a bank employee chatting to me nonchalantly about options for how I could get a credit card. Mind you, I was still a teenager, and to most teenagers that might sound like, “Sweet, I can buy whatever I want and not have to pay for it right now, right?”

Increasingly, more and more kids are starting to have credit cards as authorized users. A 2019 T. Rowe Price survey found in fact that the percentage of 8 to14 year olds with credit cards has increased from 4% to 17% in seven years. Credit cards can lead to a missing sense of budget, one of the pillars of personal finance, especially in kids.

I’ve seen friends spending money on a whim without actually paying attention to how much they were paying, instead focusing on what they were paying for. An extreme example is when a friend asked his parents for a $50/month budget on purchases, and after a few weeks, they showed him the billing reports. He was spending $50 a week and he didn’t even know it. I don’t necessarily blame people, advertisements have only gotten more personal and more appealing.


And while I recognize that the majority of high schoolers don’t have a credit card, credit card debt is a frequently faced problem later in life, starting in college, and I’m advocating to start this education early on at the high school stage.

But that’s just credit cards. My generation’s increasing tech-dependence, with the ease of using financial platforms, contributes to a sense of disconnect from money’s value. It’s psychologically easier for us to send our money through an app versus pulling $50 out of our wallet. And this disconnect only compounds improper budgeting and improper financial decisions.

Unfortunately, California is one of the five states in the U.S., in addition to D.C., that has no personal finance in the state education standards. As Californians, we need to care about our future leaders and their savviness with financial decision-making. I think it’s time we push for that change.

With a Perspective, I’m Parth Asawa.

Parth Asawa is 17 and a senior at Monte Vista High School in Cupertino.

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