Con: Budget

Money talks, cash is king… it’s an important part of life, sure. But if we want help in learning how we can create and adhere to a plan that gives us the most bang for our buck, we can seek it out of our own volition.

Making a class in budgeting mandatory is essentially telling us what we should do with our money.

If anything, a budgeting class could be offered as an optional course cut from the same cloth as personal development—something that you take to perhaps aid you in your personal life.

Making a course like budgeting be mandatory, would likely be counterproductive to demonstrating the value of the lessons such a class would teach—forcing students to study an unalluring topic that they have no interest will likely cause them to disregard the lessons being taught.

“Budgeting,” unfortunately, is not a sexy term; it’s not likely to pique the interest of those who weren’t already doing it.

A budget is the money you put aside for specific purposes and purchases. It really doesn’t seem like that would make for a curriculum extensive or impactful enough to justify making a class in budgeting mandatory. What would the lessons include?

In an article by Brad Sherman titled, “Why Personal Finance Classes Should Be Taught in College,” it is stated that budgeting courses could teach students about buying homes, understanding mortgages, putting money aside and filing taxes.

That all seems like something you’d be wiser to go to a real estate agent or an accountant for. One might argue that, by taking a budgeting class, you minimize the need to spend money on professionals such as these. But what is the likelihood that a single required class will make you understand nuanced financial information more than a credentialed professional?

In an article for The Wall Street Journal, Lauren E. Willis, a professor at Loyola Law School, wrote that students are made overconfident by classes that are meant to teach concepts such as budgeting and “often leave the classes excited to do their own financial planning, then craft poor plans.” Willis elaborates on the dangers caused by this overconfidence by stating that it is “linked to susceptibility to fraud.”

And even if a budgeting class had a robust and informative curriculum, there is little consensus among financial experts on what the most effect saving strategies are.

“Financial offerings change too quickly for regulators to keep up, never mind educators,” Willis wrote.

The benefits that can be taken away from a college course on the topic of budgeting are too little to justify making the class be mandatory.