We’ve all been there, scratching our heads when faced with real-world money decisions. This is especially true for high-income earners who face unique financial challenges and opportunities.

Unfortunately, when it comes to personal finance, schools often miss out on teaching crucial lessons that can significantly impact your financial success. While schools may touch upon basic financial concepts, several valuable money lessons are frequently overlooked.

Why Financial Literacy Should Be Taught in Schools

Did you know that as of May 2023, only 20 high schools across the country require a personal finance class for graduation? In today’s complex and rapidly changing world, the need for teaching financial literacy has never been more evident. Yet, it remains a glaring gap in our traditional school curriculum. 

Teaching financial literacy in schools is essential because it equips students with the knowledge and skills they need to navigate the intricacies of the financial landscape, make informed decisions, and build a strong foundation for their financial well-being. 

By introducing topics such as budgeting, saving, investing, credit management, and financial planning, schools can empower students to take control of their financial futures and become responsible stewards of their money. 

In an era where financial decisions have far-reaching consequences, providing students with the tools and understanding to manage their finances effectively is practical and vital for their long-term success and financial independence. 

Below we’ll explore five crucial money lessons that aren’t typically taught in school but are essential to understand. 

5 Crucial Money Lessons You Wish You Learned in School

Applying these lessons can help you build a solid financial foundation and maximize your earnings.

1. Mindful Spending and Budgeting

One common trap that high-income earners can fall into is the temptation to increase their spending as their income rises. This phenomenon is known as “lifestyle inflation.” While it’s natural to want to enjoy the fruits of your labor, it’s essential to be mindful of your spending habits. By adopting a mindful approach to spending, you can prioritize your financial goals and avoid falling into a cycle of perpetual consumption. Focus on aligning your spending with your values and long-term objectives rather than succumbing to societal pressures or the urge to keep up with others.

Having a budget empowers you to save, invest wisely, and avoid unnecessary debt. It’s a lifelong tool that enables financial stability and paves the way for achieving your goals. Creating a budget is like having a roadmap for your financial journey. It will help to ensure you are in control of your finances. Remember, the key to building wealth is not just about earning big, but also about making intentional choices with your money. 

2. Building and Protecting Wealth

Earning a strong income is one thing, but building and protecting your wealth is another. Through investing and building multiple streams of income, you can help protect your hard-earned dollars. 


Investing is a powerful tool for building wealth, yet it can often be a neglected aspect of personal finance. While it is tempting to focus on earning a high income, understanding the time value of money and starting to invest early is crucial. As a high-income earner, you have a unique opportunity to amass significant wealth through long-term investment strategies.

Take advantage of retirement accounts like 401(k)s, IRAs, or SEP-IRAs, and contribute the maximum amount allowed. Additionally, consider investing in low-cost index funds or diversified portfolios tailored to your risk tolerance and financial goals. At Five Pine Wealth Management, our financial advisors can work with you to create a diversified investment portfolio tailored to your risk tolerance and financial goals. 

Remember, time is your greatest ally in investing. The earlier you start, the more your money can compound and work for you. Compound interest may not be something taught in many schools, but it is vital to understand the magic of compound interest. Albert Einstein once said, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.”

And remember, investing is a marathon, not a sprint. So lace up those investment shoes and get moving!

Building Multiple Income Streams

A high income is fantastic, but relying solely on one income source can be risky. Renowned investor Warren Buffet cautions that individuals should never rely on a single source of income, yet many people do. Building multiple income streams provides stability and gives you the potential to accelerate your wealth-building journey. 

Having multiple income streams also offers flexibility and freedom in managing your finances. In addition, it allows you to diversify your skills and interests, pursue entrepreneurial ventures, and explore new opportunities, which can lead to a more fulfilling and balanced professional life.

Consider investing in real estate, starting a side business, or generating passive income through investments. Diversifying your income creates a safety net and increases your financial resilience.

Understanding how to accumulate assets wisely and manage risk is essential. Protecting your income requires a proactive approach. Educate yourself on investment strategies, diversification, and risk management techniques. Work with financial advisors or wealth managers to develop a tailored plan that aligns with your long-term financial goals. By taking these steps, you can safeguard your income and maintain financial security, even in the face of unexpected events.

3. Estate Planning and Wealth Transfer

Estate planning is often regarded as a topic for later stages of life. Still, high-income earners should prioritize it early on. You’ll want to ensure the smooth transfer of wealth to future generations while minimizing estate taxes and legal complications. 

Educate yourself on wills, trusts, power of attorney, and healthcare directives. Seek guidance from estate planning professionals to develop a comprehensive plan that aligns with your wishes and safeguards your wealth. By addressing estate planning early, you can protect your assets and leave a lasting legacy.

4. Debt Management

Raise your hand if school taught you about strategic debt utilization and effective debt management. Yeah, I didn’t think so. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. As a high-wage earner, you may have acquired various types of debt over the years. 

High debt levels can lead to stress, limited financial flexibility, and restrict opportunities. If you are experiencing high debt, it’s time to take control. Learn about debt consolidation, refinancing, and interest rate optimization. Develop a plan to pay down high-interest debt while strategically using debt to grow wealth.

It’s time to flip the script and make debt work for you. Debt reduction not only frees up income that can be directed toward savings and investments but also provides a sense of accomplishment and peace of mind.

5. Tax Planning and Optimization

The more money you earn, the more complex your tax situation can become. Understanding tax planning strategies is crucial to maximizing your after-tax income. Educate yourself on legal ways to optimize taxes, such as exploring tax-efficient investments, retirement accounts, charitable contributions, and other deductions. 

Seek the advice of qualified professionals who can help you navigate the intricacies of the tax code. By strategically managing your taxes, you can retain more of your hard-earned money and accelerate your path to financial freedom.

Let Five Pine Wealth Management Help You

These five valuable money lessons should be part of your journey toward financial success. Financial literacy should be a priority for everyone, regardless of income level. Remember, it’s not just about us; it’s about future generations. By advocating for financial literacy in schools, we can equip young minds with the tools they need to navigate the complexities of personal finance. 

So, let’s join forces, spread the word, and empower ourselves and others to make smart money decisions. Together, we can create a financially savvy society where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Schedule a meeting with Five Pine Wealth Management so we help you make the best decisions to grow and protect your finances.