My Money Tree
Young People And Personal Finance
It is very important to notice that the current generation of young people is getting more and more involved into a lot of things which were either nonexistent or possible in the past. Besides the usual late night drive-in movie or mid-afternoon soccer practice, today’s technologically savvy youths can write a letter, talk to a friend, listen to a playlist of more than a thousand songs, update a social networking personal page, and send a letter of application to a favored university, all at the same time, and all this while squeezing a stress ball with one hand. It obviously shows that for today’s youth, a whole world of opportunities lies within their reach. But with opportunity comes corresponding responsibility. And, more often than not, there is money involved. Now, more than ever, today’s generation of ecoboomers needs to know how to manage their personal finances, wisely and responsibly.
That responsibility is emphasized even more for those enrolled in a university. Take the case of an average college student. The day begins at around midnight with either a late night out together with friends with boxes of pizza with a lot of six packs, or a full blown house party with beer kegs and the works. Night wears on, and the next morning reality kicks in with a vengeance. All those wasted money on beef jerky and nacho chips, now nothing but crumbs on the filthy floor.
There’s laundry to do. Papers to finish. Food that was stocked up for the week is gone from the previous night’s party. There’s a trip to the nearest store to restock. If there is a car involved, there’s gas to think about (since there are practically no convenience store within reasonable distance from a university; for stores within campus, customers pay more than usual for this extra privilege of ‘convenience’). There remains the day ahead. There’s lunch and dinner. The overdue rates at the video store. That planned movie date the succeeding night. Not to mention the real responsibilities.
Payment for rent electricity, heating and water bills… not to mention tuition fees. And nothing but a limp, twisted wad of money intended to last for the rest of the week. It is but human to succumb to the pressure of spending while there is money to spend it with. Even matured, responsible, emotionally stable adults fall for it, so why should young people be blamed for it? The real problem is the lack of education, both from adults and friends. The spending habits that start early on in life carry through to adulthood. A teenager who spends sixty dollars on a fad shirt now may spend several hundred for another later on in life. These so called little things tend to stack up and become a huge financial crisis. It is better for young people to learn how money does and does not work as soon as they gain their freedom in college, as soon as they get their student driver’s license, before they graduate from high school. The earlier, the better! Because in the real world of credit cards and mortgage payments, anyone who does not know how to stretch, squeeze, scrimp and save money for all its worth ends up in financial trouble, to say the least. And it is very disheartening to splurge all day with nothing to answer for it but candy wrappers, pizza boxes, dirty laundry and old magazines.
Young people should learn more about taking care of personal finances, while they are still young and ready.
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