Here’s Why You Need Financial Education – ASAP!

by | May 30, 2024

I read some mind-boggling stats from the Social Security Administration the other day:

Out of 100 people, by retirement, 1 will be wealthy, 4 will be financially stable, 5 will need to continue working, 36 will have died, and 54 will need to rely on family/friends for support.

Yikes! Slightly more than half of our population won’t be financially ready to retire!?! My financial literacy radar detector and passion for helping to move the needle on providing financial education is screaming! “What are we waiting for?”

We ALL Need Financial Education

People of all ages need financial education. This is the education that hardly anyone ever received formally in the past and is still slow to be required to be taught in our schools. Until it is, we need to take things into our own hands. We need to help our family and friends learn and get comfortable with their money lives.

Many of us grew up not learning about making wise financial decisions from our families. And they likely never learned from their families growing up either. So there is no point in feeling guilty or blaming for the comfort level that we don’t have. But we can focus forward and try to be the pivot point for change, whether it’s ourselves, our kids, or our grandchildren.

One Day at a Time

Like any change we want to make in life, the best approach is to take one day at a time, taking one step at a time. Take three deep breaths, remember that resets your brain, and act on one task at a time. That’s exactly what I have tried to do in my Before and After checklists designed for graduates (as well as other life events). So whether you have a child/grandchild graduating from middle school, high school, or college/secondary school, there is a To-do list for all.

Spend, Spend, Spend!

Often, the most teachable moment is when there is money in hand aka a job or allowance. The temptation is to spend, spend, spend. After all, that is what our society in the United States is based on. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is a reflection of our spending. And our economy is measuring success by increasing our GDP.

And then you add in all the new marketing technologies in place to entice us to spend, spend, spend. It’s no wonder people are tempted at every turn to spend everything they have, and more! Thank you, credit card companies!

A Gentle Nudge

So how about a gentle nudge now that we are in graduation season? A conversation. A book. A checklist. All-around money habits. Starting off on the right financial foot can make life so much less stressful down the road. Can you bring up the topic as a wish you have for them? Graduation milestones are a teachable moment.

The Simple Things

Yet, it’s ironic, isn’t it, that as we get older, and definitely wiser, we most value the “simple things” in life instead of the “things” society wants us to spend, spend, spend on. Fresh air, time with family, reading, dancing, or good food, for example. Along with money skills, maybe that message too is more along the lines of what we should be passing along to our next generation.

I read an excerpt from author William Martin the other day and felt he captured it well:

“Don’t ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness.

Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life.

Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears.

Show them how to cry when pets and people die.

Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

Source: The Parent’s Tao Te Ching

Note: I have not read the book but agree with this excerpt.

A Healthy Financial Life

For our children’s marriage engagement, we gave them all the Financial Peace University course (video, book, online, or local workshop options) to encourage them to talk to each other about their money life. For young couples’ weddings, I like to give one of David Bach’s books as part of the wedding gift, Automatic Millionaire. Whether they read or act, or ignore it, at least you sent the message about your belief in the importance of conversations and actions around a healthy financial life that you are sharing out of love for them.

Nothing to Lose

Think of your own parent or grandparent. Grandparents especially are often the ones who are remembered for their love, wisdom, and fond memories. Children and grandchildren listen, even when it may not seem like they do. We have nothing to lose and so much to gain by helping to nudge them toward a healthier financial life. Our time with them is short, look how fast it has already gone by! What are you waiting for?

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What graduations do you have coming up in your family? Have you already had some money conversations with children/grandchildren? What tips do you have for other women? Let’s have a discussion!