I travel a lot, and on a recent flight, I struck up a conversation with a father seated next to me. When he learned I host MoneyTrack, a TV show on PBS about empowering people to take control of their investments and manage money better, the first thing he did was start listing the bad money habits of his daughter, who was in her first year away at college.

Tempted by a thousand new ways to spend—decorating her dorm room, a new Macbook Air, new outfits, concerts, sports equipment — of course she overdrew her checking, made a mess of her credit and fell behind on her essential bills. He complained she needed to be bailed out yet again and had absolutely no concept of how to write a check, let alone balance her checking account.

My exasperated seatmate ranted on about how could she be that clueless in college?

He asked my advice on where to turn for help teaching her better money habits. When I asked if he had a credit card, he said of course. Then I asked if he’d shared much of his own life wisdom about money—you know, the good, the bad and the ugly—with her. His answer was a bewildered “uh—I thought she’d learn this in school.”

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