If Money Could Talk
- February 8th, 2008
- 5 Comments
At the Ypulse College Mashup, people talked a lot about characteristics of Generation Y. I found it very interesting. Two things that came up more than a couple of times were that Gen Y’ers have a lot of debt and don’t save money. Apparently in their daily conversations with mom and dad, which we were told is another norm among this generation, money doesn’t come up much. Or maybe the mind-blowing, staggering costs of their college educations make saving just seem plain nihilistic. On the final panel of the day, Gen Yer’s themselves revealed their own insecurity about finances and made it clear they don’t have a lot of good information when it comes to even the simplest concepts around credit cards. While I’m not yet convinced this is unique to Generation Y, it does pose a problem.
Money is one of those things that we’re just supposed to “get,” yet it’s still fairly taboo to talk about finances socially. For example I was taught it’s rude to ask what something costs, or what people make. However anytime I’ve broken these rules with friends, I learn something new and feel reassured that we all have similar concerns. Simultaneously, I am reminded everyone’s situation is different and that’s helpful too. They don’t teach “dollars and sense” in K-12 schools, yet with each year, kids are moving closer to becoming financially independent.
This article (Savingadvice.com) sparked my interest in the topic and got me thinking. Education around money really has to start at a very young age, but I think the teen years are the ripest for the best lessons. Teens are getting their first jobs and are wanting to purchase both big and small ticket items. Money becomes real for the first time for many of us at this developmental stage.
While you can’t go back in time to teach Gen Yer’s about managing their finances, some comprehensive financial books designed to meet them where they’re at right now would be a good start. If I were to write one, it would be titled: Get out of debt. Save. Invest. Give some away.
Am I showing my age or would Suze Ormond consider penning a project?
In the meantime, here’s a cool blog called Generation Y Finance about this very subject.