Why are so many young people bad with money? (Or are they?)
In all honesty, I don’t like the articles directed towards millennials that blame them for everything that’s currently wrong in society: not buying houses, not being financially responsible, buying avocados, not having kids; the list literally goes on and on. A search online shows that whatever problem you might identify (economics, children, lack of spending), millennials are being blamed for it. And you don’t really have to generalize it by generation: it’s just the latest target because it’s catchy to put in the media’s headlines.
This is a problem that has existed for generations. It’s actually a form of stereotyping – you are blaming the actions of a group, “causing” a perceived problem, for the actions of a few individuals. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there are a lot of young people who are bad with money. It simply means that regardless of age, there are still people who are bad with money. So this article is intended to help you recognize you have a problem with finances, and how to help yourself out of it:
University and college do make things tighter financially, particularly since you want to avoid dipping into loans or credit as much as possible – because if you do, you have to pay that back, plus the student loan. By limiting this as much as you can, you can owe less money. The less debt, the better off you will be financially.
This also sounds like common sense, but budgeting can work wonders. By knowing what you can expect to receive on your paycheck, you can calculate how much you can afford for the week (or biweekly, monthly; depending on how you are paid). What is unavoidable to pay: utilities, rent, food and the like; as well as how much you can save for future things you would like to get or to do: clothing, books, a ski trip, video games. You do this by saving a little bit each paycheck. It will slowly add up, leading to extra money, very much like an allowance you earned when you were younger. If this works out well, and you’re living within your means, you will have some money available to help yourself in the future. (It also helps to put some aside for an emergency fund, because things do happen – such as emergency car repair or having to find a new place to live quickly, for any number of reasons.
Yes, a job promotion with an increase in pay also helps so that your budget grows. If this is not a possibility right now, and you have been in the same job for a while, consider exploring your options, such as staying where you are and taking further education courses; quit entirely and lose that income while you search for a new job; or ask your manager if you can be promoted based on your job performance.
So, it’s not just young people who are bad with money – this is simply an unrealistic stereotype. Instead, take responsibility, as an individual, for your finances. If you realize you have a problem with debt, take action early to help yourself in the future. If you have no problems, it is better to realize to keep going the way you have, or to take account of possible emergencies in the future as I mentioned earlier.
There is always a way to get help with financial difficulties, the advice I’ve given is only suggestions to get that first step, such as budgeting, which helps you realize where you may be overspending in one area and how to compensate (dining out instead of buying groceries and doing your own cooking). But always remember that self-discipline and saying “no” to temptations is always a good idea.