Recently my wife Kate and I were discussing her ground rules regarding our shared key ingredients for success: determination, smarts, talent (creativity), perseverance, the need to be inquisitive, and others. Then she brought up an excellent point: what if young adults began manifesting wealth at an early age using the same ‘what would you do…?’ mentality that many adults only seem to exhibit when playing the lottery in the hopes that they would miraculously win and let all their money fears disappear?
Sadly, Kate is right. Most adults never learned the discipline of wealth creation at an early age, which was evidenced by last week’s PowerBall frenzy that sent Americans scurrying to their favorite “dream brokers” in order to purchase a “financial do-over” as the Powerball jackpot reached a whopping $550,000,000. The reality is (as most of you Monopoly® aficionados know) that they will never ‘pass go’ or collect $200.
What is amazing to me is that despite all the perceived value Americans seem to place on education, why then are Personal Finance and Wealth Creation classes neglected from most middle school and high school curricula? I’ve often wondered why most schools spend so much time teaching us the basics: math, English, history, science, foreign languages, and more, yet they fail to teach us the most important and practical life lesson: proper money management. Then it dawned on me, the reason why most teachers probably never teach their students anything about these subjects. Perhaps it’s because they were never taught either, and you can’t teach what you don’t know.
In my humble opinion, ignorance about money is not bliss. It’s costly. It literally blows my mind how little regard Americans have for financial education, considering that “money” now appears to be one of the most controversial topics within our society. Conversations about the state of the economy, both nationally and personally in our own households, as well as the “fiscal cliff” tend to dominate the proverbial “water cooler” chit chat online and offline. Not only is it extremely personal, but most people tend to have very different opinions and experiences regarding money. One size definitely does not fit all. For example, if your parents are/were conservative, then most likely you will also be conservative with your money. However, if you disliked how your parents either saved or spent their money, then you may decide to be the exact opposite. The point is that people tend to develop their habits and values regarding money from a very early age, consciously or unconsciously. They are usually swayed by parents, teachers, friends, or even worse, the media (e.g. TV, radio, magazines, etc.) that loves to prey upon America’s ignorance by constantly advertising and reminding us of what we either think we really want and need or what we basically don’t have and why?
In fact, millions of dollars a year are spent by companies on advertising in order to reap profits from America’s monetary spending dysfunction, which I call financial obesity. Companies deceive us with ads about what we should be driving, wearing, eating, living, playing, and thinking, and then shame us into a bad case of ‘mood poisoning’ if we don’t own what we “should” or if we don’t abide by their definitions of success.
The truth is: we need to educate our young adults to break free from the “must have” mentality often created at a young age. We need to empower our youth to start thinking about why they are spending their money and cultivate their desire to understand how each dollar spent will lead to their successful outcomes. To help you avoid the “must have” mentality, I suggest that you ask yourself the following two questions before each purchase in order to ensure that every dollar spent is truly helping you to achieve your overall financial success:
1) Could this money be better invested than spent? and
2) Will this money generate the means for other future successes?
In my book, Growing Success; A Young Adult’s Guide to Achieving Personal and Financial Success, my goal is to educate and help young adults and adults of all ages understand and seriously think about the concepts of personal finance and wealth creation. Your ability to understand and adopt these important concepts from an early age will definitely help you to become a successful young independent monetizer /income generator, which will enable you to always produce multiple streams of income toward achieving your probable outcomes for success.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” ~ Dale Carnegie
Begin educating yourself. Avoid the unfortunate and avoidable financial pitfalls that currently plague so many adults between the ages of 40 and 60.
It’s time to grow your financial success and unleash your successful wealth creator now.