I am tired of reading articles like this: American millennials have an average net worth of $8,000 — and it’s part of a bigger financial problem the generation is facing.
The results of all of these studies are all about decisions that were choices someone made – not an emergency health crisis, or a loss of a job, but concrete choices to spend that money in that way. Many of the choices that are keeping millennials from saving for retirement are flexible expense choices. That means, if you are a millennial, you are in control of that money choice.
Recently a parent who is using our Money Savvy Pig bank asked me how to teach her young son how to use the “invest“ slot of the bank. He (and mom) were confused about how to approach investing as a money choice.
Before you teach your child the concept of “invest”, first your child needs to understand and master the concept of save. We save and set goals for the things we want or need within, let’s say one year from now. So, if you are a 7-year-old kid, that would be something they would want or need by the time they are eight. Or, if it’s easier, if they are in first grade, by the time they are in second grade.
In his recent his column for Marketwatch, Mark Hulbert suggests that no amount of financial education will ever keep people from doing the wrong thing when it comes to their money choices:
“In my experience, the biggest obstacle investors face is not cognitive but behavioral. Even when they have sufficient knowledge, they still do the wrong thing. No amount of education will overcome that.”
Well that’s depressing. And wrong. Financial literacy basics learned and mastered early on can help overcome behavioral missteps later in life.