Comic Books Teaching Personal Finance Says A Lot About Our Education

by Jason Unger

I love talking about money. And I’ve read comic books since I was a kid.

So I was definitely interested when I saw the news that Visa is partnering with Marvel to produce personal finance educational comic books.

The new comic, “Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket’s Powerful Plan,” is meant to teach kids about “saving up for an emergency and how to save up for big-ticket items that they need but can’t normally buy.”

“Rocket and Groot are the stars of the comic. It’s called ‘Rocket’s Powerful Plan’ and he’s the one that’s saving money,” says Darren Sanchez, editor and project manager at Custom Solutions, Marvel’s in-house creative agency. “He’s the mastermind behind all of it. And Groot is the irresponsible side to show what not to do.”

Marvel and Visa previously published “Avengers: Saving the Day,” where the “heroes team up to defeat Mole Man and his evil army, all while learning important financial skills.”

It’s not really new for comics to tackle educational issues — I can remember a Captain America comic where he “went to war” against drugs (apparently this issue was produced in partnership with the FBI).

But even though I enjoy both talking about money and comic books, I’m feeling ambivalent about this initiative. It’s not that Visa and Marvel have ulterior motives — I believe they’re well intentioned — it’s just that it says a lot about the state of personal finance education in our country when kids need to learn about managing money through comic books.

As Yahoo points out, only 17 states across the country require high school students to take a personal finance class. And as we’ve discussed before, there’s a disturbing lack of personal finance education in the US.

We shouldn’t be relying on Visa, a huge financial corporation, to teach people how to manage money. Like I said, I don’t think they are teaching bad financial lessons — Groot isn’t utilizing his maximum credit score to borrow against his home in order to make improvements and flip it in a hot real estate market — but kids should learn about money from school. And they aren’t.

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