As adults we are expected to know how to interview for a job, accumulate a savings and retirement plan, eliminate debt and build wealth. That isn’t always the case since most aren’t actually taught. Instead, many are only doing what those assume is correct.
As children we view our parents go to work, go to the stores, buy a car, live in a house and then retire. During the entire journey to adulthood we are told to “get an education” and “get a job”, in that order. However, no one really sits down and discuss a plan as to manage the money.
Most teens are excited about getting their first job. Normally, they spend the paychecks on accessories, clothes, shoes hanging out with friends. Orientation typically discusses tardiness, job responsibilities and attitude; unfortunately, you don’t hear how to properly spend a paycheck and what it means to spend less than you earn.
Next, students enter college to occasionally receive an overpayment of student loan disbursements. Many don’t consider the financial abuse of requesting more money than needed per semester. Instead, they cash the check and buy more expensive items than they have before. Until the Credit Card Act of 2009, students would abuse credit card privileges and travel the road to debt mayhem. Believe it or not, there were students who didn’t realize the money charged on credit cards had to be paid off each month. Again, if no one ever taught you, you wouldn’t know.
Lastly, now that you’ve received an expensive college education, you can now enter the workplace. This becomes an even bigger challenge because you have more money than you have ever earned in your entire life. Included in the responsibilities of adulthood are the credit cards from college and the student loans. Although you have a duty to pay off your debt, you choose to splurge on your wants. Why? Again, no one has taught you where or how to spend your money.
You only manage your check based on what you’ve seen others do in the past. So here comes the mortgage, car payments, vacations and everything else you believe that you deserve.
Where did the image of spending more than you earn come from? Let’s take a look at the media. Whether we’re watching television, listening to the radio or reading a magazine, luxury living is everywhere. Companies have learned that targeting consumer spending through emotions is the way to the pocketbook. Let’s face it, why not feel entitled to buy what you deserve? You work hard everyday, take care of your family, pay your tithes or zakat and live a fulfilling life.
Is your life truly fulfilling if you are lost in the chaos of money management? Although you may never have been taught how to manage money, it’s not too late to learn. The keys are to face your reality, change your behavior, research resources and implement what works for you.
What do you wish was taught to you about money management?
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