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Financial education is smart

August 18, 2008

Re "Give us shelter," editorial, Aug. 11

Despite clearly noble intent, The Times has again taken an important issue and gotten it completely wrong. What your editorial should have said is this: Pass a bill requiring education in all schools about adult financial responsibility and the concept of "buyer beware."

If you think this is already happening, I challenge you to point to any curriculum in the California public school system that teaches how to calculate a mortgage payment, how to calculate "affordability," how to budget for expenses or how to do anything remotely resembling useful fiscal management.

We are raising a generation of financial illiterates who cannot even count change without a computer telling them how. No wonder personal debt is spiraling ever higher.

If you make new lending rules, not only will they be broken, but new products will be created that fully circumvent them and duplicate the easy-credit effect.

If you teach the typical person to make an informed decision, the broker can lie to them all he wants -- the wise consumer gets up and walks away.

My kid can recite the capitals of all 50 states. I guess that's more important.

Joe Seigo

Thousand Oaks

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