10 useless things they taught us in school vs 10 things they should've

Anna Allgaier

Would’ve been helpful 🥲

1) Credit ratings

You heard, they’re a thing. Turns out you need a decent credit rating to get a mortgage, apply for credit cards and get discounts on things like insurance.

2) Taxes

To my dismay, I learnt what these were later in life after receiving a very disappointing pay cheque. Would’ve been nice to know about this before I spent half of my anticipated salary at Zara. If you want to find out more on how they work check out the HMRC, IRS or website if you’re in the UK or the States, or find your country’s equivalent.

3) Investments

I’ll be honest with you, I work at a finance company and I have loads of friends who work in investing and I still don’t really get the ins and outs of it all. At all. So if you asked me to invest my own money in something, chances are I’d make some poor decisions. My life’s theme. Anyway, check out my article on Investing for beginners.

4) Budgeting

I can’t sit here and preach to you on budgeting when my savings account is a sad state of affairs, but I’m learning. Part of me wants to blame this on school for not bringing it to my attention, especially considering I was in the low set for Maths, but I know I had a part to blame in this. I guess. When we’re kids, or even young adults, we really aren’t taught about the importance of thinking long term. And it’s for sure time to change that.

5) Pensions

Why were we never told about this? WHY? Humans age, and if we weren’t taught about number 4 (or chose to avoid it), then the money will run out. Again, the youth need to learn about thinking long term!

6) Debt

You know the saying, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch?” Well, it’s true. Apparently when you borrow money you have to give it back. Sigh. Unpaid debts and missed payments will lower your credit rating (please refer to point 1). And if you don’t pay loans back then you’ll likely get some sort of scary email from a debt collector. Which I really don’t want for you. Not a vibe.

7) Interest rates

I didn’t know what these were until an embarrassing age. But truth be told, I shouldn’t have been embarrassed because at no point was this brought to my attention growing up. (Yes, I know I could’ve Googled, but I just did, now, when I wrote this article). Interest rates basically tell you how high it will cost to borrow something, or how much you’ll get back for saving. These do fluctuate.

8) Credit Card vs. Debit Card

Also learnt this lesson the hard way. A Debit Card is tied to your bank account, it holds your income. A Credit Card IS NOT your income, it is a card that holds an amount (a limit) that you’ve agreed with your bank. And much like a loan, this is not free either. You do have to pay this back.

9) Exchange rates

Younger Anna was naive, younger Anna was popping to the Airport’s Bureau de Change before her EasyJet flight, and paying extortionate fees just to get her GBP turned into EUR. I’m not just plugging Wise here (I sort of am). Next time you’re at the airport just Google the exchange rate for yourself and you’ll see just how much you’re getting ripped off by.

The good news is, it's never too late to start

🤓The good news is, it's never too late to start🤓

10) How to talk about money

This is a big one. There are a lot of unspoken rules, which vary country-to-country, when it comes to talking about money. What’s polite to ask? What’s considered rude? How should I tip? How do I negotiate a decent salary? The list goes on.

Not helpful at all 🙃

1) What the different types of dinosaurs were

They’re dead teachers, move on. You know what isn’t dead yet? Me. Tell me about pensions instead.

2) Latin

Latin’s also dead. Stop wasting my time. Just kidding, latin is actually super useful if you’re learning languages like Italian, or Greek. But if you’re not, swipe left.

3) How to turn a potato into a battery

Potatoes are to be turned into beautiful things like gratin, fries and mash. Not batteries.

4) How to draw a circle with a compass

Yes this got us all through some very boring classes, no this is not something any of us have used in later life. Unless you’re an architect or a designer? Is that a thing? I don’t know. Don’t @ me.

5) Pythagoras Theorem and Trigonometry

The only thing Pythagoras and Trig gave me was PTSD.

6) Bibliographies

I’m still too traumatised to discuss this. Next.

7) Children shouldn't be trusted with bunsen burners

Was this a thing in school outside of the UK? If not, bunsen burners are devices that produce flames. I’m talking about BIG flames. A boy in my class burnt his eyebrows off. Legend.

8) Long division

Maths teachers of the world, may I introduce you to a calculator?

9) How to write in cursive

Literally every form you have to sign as an adult says “write in print” not “write your name in squiggly whiggly letters.

10) Twinkle, twinkle little star

We’ve all had to learn this on some sort of interestrement. And unless you’re a kindergarten music teacher, you’ve never touched this again.

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