Financial Education for the Average Joe

Have you ever come across a financial issue as an adult and thought to yourself “How-come I didn’t learn about this in high school? It would’ve been extremely valuable” and then struggled to wade through the information that’s out there to teach yourself. It can be overwhelming. In fact, for young and old folks alike, money management, knowledge, and skills are not always cut and dry. Using myself as a prime example of this, I wish I had taken the time to completely understand the ins and outs of credit cards and the fees involved.

I wish I had a notebook or resource about how to use it intelligently when I received my first credit card. Yes, I got the packet with the fine print, but I didn’t REALLY understand the whole thing. I skimmed it, like I’m sure many young people do. I didn’t understand the terms and so I gave up reading it because it felt so dense. Fast forward to last week. I did a poll of my co-workers and friends on Facebook to find out what they really want to know about money as a millennial. The answers were fascinating and varied. They wanted to know about the mindsets of different generations in regard to the cost of expensive brand name items versus off brand items. They wanted to know about investing. They wanted to know about workbooks and habits for spending and saving…I never thought about that before. It got me thinking: what resources are out there for adults and teens that would answer these questions at an early age? What I found was very interesting…to be continued…

I get excited every time I go to deposit money in the bank. That may sound a little too much, and maybe it is, but it’s the truth. I like seeing the numbers go up. For a moment I forget that very soon those numbers will go dooooooowwwwnnnn. Rent, health insurance, credit card bills, medical bills, school bills, voice lessons, acting classes, they all take so much money. It can be very overwhelming sometimes. There’s a sense of pride when we see the numbers going up in our accounts, and rightfully so! We’ve worked hard! You know, this is kind of an uncomfortable thought, though…if you think about it, that money’s not really ours. It may be for just a moment (and enjoy it), but in the end, it’s not ours to own. It comes and goes. It’s frightening at the end of the day once you realize that the actual amount of that money that you’ll get to enjoy for YOU is very minimal. Money, in some part, can be compartmentalized in our lives. I’ll explain.

I have struggled with money for a long time. It seems that my bills are always higher than what I make. I decided to try an experiment recently. I dedicated every shift at my job to paying off specific bills. Rent came first, then school loans, etc. I began to think of the money that I was making as not my money, but the landlords’ money, the loan organizations’ money, and so on and so forth. It was a harsh way to think about it, but it really opened my eyes to just how much was MY money. Compartmentalizing my money helped me take care of the essentials first, and then I could see how much I had left for anything else. Someday I hope to not have to do that, but in reality I’ve come to realize that money is very much based on a mindset: how we think about it has a lot to do with how we handle it. How do you think about the money you make? Is it yours? How do you compartmentalize? I’m very curious and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section. Happy reading!