Two classes that need be taught in schools

July 01, 2020

While conversing about the suspension of foreign worker visas, a friend remarked instead of blocking out skilled immigrants, it would be better to reform the education system to lessen the need of skilled immigrants. We agreed that’s tough to tackle without forcing students to choose certain professions. Here’s two proposed courses that would actually benefit anyone, regardless of the profession.

How to make money from money

The traditional education system prepares people to become workers in corporate America. High income workers are seen as successes, the embodiment of the American dream. The high costs of being a high income worker is conveniently omitted:

  • high salaries tend to congregate in high cost cities, ie. San Francisco, New York City, Seattle, …
  • income taxes penalize the high income earners; since that is the only stream of revenue for most people, that’s a big cut from the paycheck
  • high salary jobs in the private sector are vulnerable to layoffs
  • if the demand for the job decreases, the income stream may dry up
  • high salary white collar positions often require an education, and the $1.5 trillion of cumulative federal student loan debt can mean decade-long payments

Combine all of the above and you have the working rich; people with high income and low net worth. Additionally these people are time poor, and they fuss over a car or vacation more than learning how to manage money. The average joe never learns how to make money from money once they enter the rat race.

To target these time-poor people, scams abound. Get rich quick from the stock market! Pick these stocks! Most people lose money trading. Others don’t trade; they park their retirment income in the stock market, then panic sell when the market corrects. The stock market goes up long term, but most people are concerned with the superficials (the company stock went down today by $23!) and not with the bigger picture.

Proposed course content:

  1. Why the stock market exists
  2. Asset allocation for immediate, medium term needs, including how much to save for a cash cushion
  3. Economic cycles, ie. what goes up comes down, and vice versa
  4. How and when to buy stocks with a discount, without time travel
  5. How to identify quality information from the media
  6. How to test profit strategies without blowing big amounts of real money

The goal is for people to not fear the stock market, rather to see it as a congregation of speculators. Ideally the course also teaches students to partake in the market in ways that agree with their needs; this may be a follow up course.

How to start, grow, and end a long term relationship

Schools don’t want to teach this topic because it is almost purely soft skill, however it has huge payoffs:

  1. A couple can share the bill, including utility, groceries, Internet, rent/mortgage
  2. If one person gets laid off, the other person might cover the costs
  3. Time savings from not going to bars, pubs, or other places to scout for partners
  4. Increased perceived social value among peers
  5. Share memories over the years

There is little structured help for this kind of relationship; instead the schools offer advice on resumes and interviews. I suggest we need as much help, if not more, with personal relationships as with professional ones.

What is the cost of not having this knowledge? Badly executed breakups end in death. Another consequence is the pickup industry targeting ordinary men who believe women can be gamed, persuaded, or coerced into sex. If the peddled advice doesn’t work, the industry peddles more courses to make it work, but fails because dating is hard. Among different types of dating, the long term relationship is especially hard because the goal is to have a meaningful connection with someone you respect, admire, and the desire to build something great together. It is wiser to see the person as someone with needs, wants, and decisons, and work on the relationship together for maximum health, emotional, and financial benefits. Instead of focusing on the details such as setting up online dating profiles, this course allows learners to see the forest, not just the trees.

Proposed course content:

  1. Define what you are looking for in a partner and the type of relationship
  2. Ways to meet and evaluate candidates
  3. How to discuss, set, and reinforce boundaries
  4. When to move on from a relationship
  5. How to move on from a relationship

These are the two skills that anyone can benefit from, regardless of profession. Taking these two courses would go a long way to educate people on two necessary skills in this fast-changing world.