At age 15, I made a fake ID that said I was 18, left home, got a job and a checking account. That was over 40 years ago and it is probably harder to do in this age of computers when people can check up on you more easily. On the other hand, dishwashers who regularly show up at work are still hard to come by, so maybe not.
My point is that someone before the age of 15 had shown me how to write a check and fill out an application both for employment and for a bank account.
According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, only 7% of HOUSEHOLDS don’t have a bank account, but that is definitely an overestimate of people using banks. For example, if you are 17 years old and living with your mother and she has a checking account, you aren’t counted in that 7%.
Why is this an issue? Because about once a year, I will hire someone who turns out not to have a bank account. Conversations go like this:
Can you pay me in cash?
No, this is a company. You can be paid via check or direct deposit.
Or like this …
I don’t have a bank account. Can you make the check out to my mom?
Does your mom work here?
My mom had me writing out checks and updating her check register by the time I was 12. Her motivation was mostly to save time, which is always in short supply when you have five kids. We’d be driving somewhere and she would tell me to fill out the check and update the balance in her checkbook and when we got to wherever it was, she’d sign it, hand it over to pay the bill and off to the next errand.
I vaguely remember when I was in school there was a unit in math class on balancing a checking account. That’s been over forty years, though. I sort of recall when I was teaching 8th grade back in the 1980s that there was a lesson or two on writing checks, but I never saw anything like that when my girls were in school in the 1990s and later.
I opened an account with each of my daughters while they were in high school and while we paid their tuition and dorm fees, they were all expected to manage their own money once they got out of high school.
Yes, you can get by in high school and college using credit cards, debit cards and gift cards and yes, very few people write checks any more when most transactions in the U.S. are done on line or using cash. HOWEVER, once you get a real job they expect you to have a bank account like an actual grown up.
My point is that I don’t know who is teaching students about banks and checking these days, but too often it appears as if it is nobody.
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