How do you manage money when you have ADHD?

Frustrated Woman Looking at Computer

How do you manage money when you have ADHD?

ADHD and money management

ADHD can make it hard to manage your money. Managing money requires many executive functioning skills like organization, decision making, and planning, all of which can be a particular challenge for people with ADHD. ADHD can affect everyone in different ways, so it is important for you to determine how your ADHD affects you and put systems in place to help you manage your money.

 

In this article, I will provide tips to help you manage your money better with ADHD.

Why is Money Management Hard for people with ADHD?

 

Money management can be challenging for anyone, but it can become especially difficult when you add ADHD into the mix. One of the biggest challenges can be a lack of interest in money management tasks.  

People with ADHD tend to focus on tasks of interest and avoid things that do not bring them the “dopamine hit” we all get when we do something we enjoy. Unfortunately, this can lead to bills not being paid, goals not being set, and money not being managed.

Avoiding essential tasks can quickly spiral out of control when things pile up.  Piles of to-dos can quickly become overwhelming, leading to further crises.

Perhaps you are avoiding such tasks because

  • You may not know how to start
  • That pile will take forever to get through
  • You don’t remember exactly what you are supposed to do to complete each task perfectly
  • You don’t want to take the time to do it
  • You feel like you shouldn’t have to do that stuff anyway

So you miss essential tasks, bills don’t get paid, and you may find yourself spending more, falling further behind, and feeling stressed, anxious, and doubting yourself.

Other symptoms of ADHD can also make it harder to manage money.

  • Impulsivity can sometimes lead to poor financial choices
  • Lack of object permanence (i.e. out of sight out of mind) can make it hard to manage budgets and balances.
  • Time blindness (i.e. difficulting sensing the passage of time)  can make it challenging to pay bills on time or save for long-term goals and plan for the future.
Woman with financial problems

Money Management Tips For ADHD Adults

 

Automate your money
Automating transactions can help you avoid remembering, organizing, planning, and deciding what to do with your money when you would instead focus on something more interesting.

Automate your bill payments – Avoid having to remember to pay bills by setting automatic bill payments or direct withdrawal for as many bills as possible.

Automate savings. – Setup reoccurring transfers to put money into saving accounts, spending allowance accounts, and long-term savings

Use Apps – Use money management apps to track spending and to build and stick to budgets. You can use Apps and services like Kredit Karma to monitor your credit.

Set Calendar Reminder – For any financial process that you cannot automate. For example, you can set a calendar to check your credit report and score every six to twelve months, pay your taxes, or check to make sure your bills are all paid and your budget is still working.

Set Notifications – Have your banks notify you when your balance drops below a certain level. You can also request your credit card company and other service providers notify you when a future bill is due via text or email.

Use Visuals

Visual aids can help when object permeance makes it hard to remember how much money you have in the bank and to keep you organized.

Don’t go paperless – If you can still get your bills mailed, do it. Getting a paper bill can be a better reminder than an email you may miss. But don’t let your bills pile up. Instead, you need to use the receipt of your bill as the trigger to pay it.

Use colors – Have a dedicated space for your financial paperwork and use color coding to help keep them organized.

Stickers – Use lots of stickers. Put a sticker on your credit card to remind you that it is only for emergencies. Add a sticker on your debit card to remind you to stick to your budget. Or add a sticker of your goals to your credit card to remind you that spending will prevent you from reaching your goals.

Set Alarms – Similar to stickers, alarms can help remind you to pay bills on time or revisit your budget in six months. Use your phone and make sure the reminder pops up and is audible and not easily dismissed.

Visualize Savings – add a paper clip to a chain every time you save $10, $100, or $1,000. Challenge yourself to see how long your chain can get (credit Atomic Habits). Or print or use a whiteboard to create a fundraising thermometer for your savings goals.

Visualize your budget- Use apps that help track what you have spent and provide a visual of your budget.

* Keep your visuals in spaces you frequent, and move them around periodically so that they stay fresh in your head.

Add friction to your spending.

Making it harder to spend your money can help to make impulse purchases harder and help prevent overspending.

Remove credit cards from online accounts – Avoid the temptation to buy by not saving credit cards on online stores like Amazon.

Use Wish List – Put items in your wish list for at least 24 hours before adding them to your cart.

Leave home without it – Don’t bring money, debit, or credit cards when you don’t need them. 

Create a list before you shop – Creating a list and vowing to stick to it can help decrease impulse purchases.

Unsubscribe – Unsubscribe to mailing lists from retailers.

Remove Apps- Remove retail apps from your phone to remove some of the temptation and the ease of access to the online stores.

Some other things to consider

 

You need to create a budget – Spending without a budget to account for all the bills and things you may have a hard time remembering when you get paid is necessary. Use apps or advisors to help you create and stick to your budget. 

Set Specific Goals(Long, short, and micro-term goals) – You will not reach your goals until you have identified them. In addition to long-term goals like retirement, and short-term goals, like creating a budget, you may also benefit from the satisfaction of micro goals. Micro-goals, like spending no more than your allotted grocery budget that week, can help to keep you interested since they are achievable more frequently.

You need an emergency fund – Creating and maintaining an emergency fund is even more critical for folks with ADHD. There are several ways people with ADHD can overspend (voluntarily and involuntarily). Having an emerging fund to draw upon when things come up is critical to ensure you can manage those unexpected expenses.

Ask for help – If going it alone is not working, ask friends and family to help you. They can act as an accountability buddy to help keep you on track. 

Use trusted advisors – Certified Financial Planners are like therapists for you and your money. They will work with you to help you create and execute financial plans that you define and work for you. 

 Manage your credit very carefully – Credit cards can facilitate impulse and overspending. They also require diligence and organization to ensure they don’t spiral out of control. Use the tips above to keep your credit card spending in check and your credit card balances paid.

Be kind to yourself – We all make financial mistakes. Put controls and systems in place, like automation, to help avoid making the same mistake and move on. Shame, self-doubt, anxiety, and depression can cause more financial missteps.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, there are a few things that you can do to manage your money when you have ADHD:

  1. Try to automate your finances as much as possible.
  2. Use Visuals.
  3. Add friction to your spending
  4. Create a budget and stick to it.
  5. Have an emergency fund
  6. Manage credit carefully 
  7. Be kind to yourself and ask for help if you need it.

By following these tips, you can better manage your money and live a more financially stable life with ADHD.

The effects of financial illiteracy

Ripped dollar

The effects of financial illiteracy

Introduction 

Financial illiteracy is a huge problem in the United States. For example, according to a study by the National Financial Educators Council, 60% of Americans cannot answer basic financial literacy questions. This lack of knowledge has real-world consequences. People with low levels of financial literacy are more likely to make poor financial decisions, incur high levels of debt, and have difficulty planning for their future.

This lack of financial literacy is especially harmful to young people.

What is financial literacy?

 

Financial literacy is the ability to understand and use basic financial concepts. This includes understanding things like credit, budgeting and investing.

Financial literacy is crucial because it can help you make better decisions with your money. It can also help you avoid debt and build wealth over time.

Frustrated girl

The causes of financial illiteracy

 

There are a few reasons why many people are financially illiterate. One reason is that personal finance is not taught in schools. As a result, many students graduate from high school without ever taking a money management or investing class.

Another reason for financial illiteracy is that most people do not talk about money. In many families, money can be a taboo topic and thus avoided. This can lead to a lack of discussion about financial matters at home and can carry forward into adulthood and relationships.

Finally, many people are afraid to ask for help regarding their finances. They may be embarrassed about their current situation or feel they should be able to figure it out independently.

The effects of financial illiteracy

 

Financial illiteracy can have detrimental effects on an individual’s future financial situation and overall quality of life. The lack of financial literacy can lead to costly mistakes that can have long-lasting implications for individuals, families, and even entire communities.

Some effects of financial illiteracy include:

  • Struggle with managing debt or savings
  • Delayed or no opportunity for retirement
  • Relying on high-interest credit cards and loans 
  • Lack of understanding of how spending choices now can affect future security.
  • Higher stress levels related to money matters, particularly during economic recessions or downturns
  • Paying higher fees and interest rates 
  • Difficulty coming up with the money to cover an unexpected expense.
  • Inability to pay bills on time.
The Best Books about Financial Literacy by Category

Improving financial literacy

 

There are several ways to improve financial literacy. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Try learning as much as possible about personal finance using:

2. Keep track of your spending so that you have a better understanding of where your money goes each month.

3. Use your long, medium, and short-term goals to help guide your financial choices whenever possible, even if they seem like something other than the most fun choices.

These resources can help individuals learn about budgeting, investing, and other vital topics.

By improving financial literacy, you can become better equipped to make healthy and productive decisions about your money. This can lead to improved overall financial well-being and greater peace of mind.

Conclusion

 

In conclusion, financial illiteracy has several adverse effects. It can lead to debt and financial stress and even prevent people from achieving their financial goals. Financial literacy is essential for everyone, and it’s something that schools should teach at an early age. It’s never too late to learn, so if you do not feel financially literate, resources are available to help you become more financially savvy.

 

How to Teach Children with ADHD to Manage Money

Teaching Kid

How to Teach Children with ADHD to Manage Money

To help children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) learn money management skills, it is essential to start early. Since personal finance requires a lot of executive function skills like planning, organizing, decision-making, time management, and focus, it can be tough for children with ADHD to learn how to manage their money.

Why is managing  money difficult with ADHD?

 

Money management can be difficult for any person, but it can be especially challenging for people with ADHD. ADHD presents in kids in different ways. For example, some kids with ADHD may be more impulsive and have trouble delaying gratification. Or they may be more inattentive and distractible, making it harder for them to focus on learning the financial skills they will need as adults.

As children with ADHD get older, they may also have trouble planning and organizing their finances, resulting in missed payments, missed opportunities, and potentially financial chaos. Kids with ADHD may need help developing skills for managing money, such as setting goals, budgeting, and tracking expenses that work for them. 

Parents can play a crucial role in helping their kids learn these skills by providing guidance and teaching them how to handle money responsibly while they are still young.

How to teach money management to kids with ADHD? 

 

Not all children with ADHD are the same. So it is essential to find what works best for your child.

  1. Ensure your child knows basic money identification and the function of money.
  2. Give them a chance to practice using money while at home.
  3. Use visuals to help them see their savings grow.
  4. Keep it fun and interesting
  5. Use tools and resources that mimic the tools adults use

For children with ADHD, it is about learning the habits of good financial wellness and the systems, tools, and processes they can implement to help them reach their goals.

Creating visuals for your child 

I am a big fan of the three jars method of allowances. But I do not think that goes far enough visually to demonstrate savings for a child with ADHD.


Suppose your child wanted to save for something. Take a picture of the thing they are saving and stick the picture where they can see it every day.

Use the paper clip method – String paper clips together every time they save $1, $5, or $10. Hang the paper clips on a hook and draw a line to indicate how many paperclips they will need to reach their goal (Credit to Atomic Habits)


Fundraising thermometer – Print out a blank fundraising thermometer. Divide the savings goal into equal increments and have your child color in the thermometer until they reach their goal.

Visualizing to Kids

Keep it interesting

 

Games can be a great way to learn new skills. Similarly, apps can help take some of the burden of executive functioning from managing money while also being fun.  So let’s use all our resources to keep the learning exciting and engaging. 

 

Gamify – Make learning fun and interesting. Online money-related board games can be a great way to keep your child interested in financial literacy.

 

Automations and Finance Apps – Money management apps can make it easier to use automation and visually represent their money. Allowance apps and money management will also allow them to see how setting goals and using automation can help them reach their goals faster.

 

A note on allowance apps – Many allowance apps include some form of payment for chore management. I don’t like using allowances to incentive chores because of the pay-for-chore trap. But if the app you chose can help as a chore reminder for your child, I’m not against it.

Give them a chance to practice – Allowances

 

Words Words Words…

Allowances allow your child to practice using money in a safe environment where you can help coach and advise them. But only you will know the best way to make that happen. 

Give them cash – Cash has the benefit of being tangible. It is easy to see how much money you have when dealing with cash. But it can also be harder to keep track of and is easy to spend and lose.

Prepaid Debit Cards – Early debit cards mimic what most adults use when managing money. Online banking and early banking apps can help children learn how to track spending, build budgets and use automation to reach savings goals. But when managing money digitally, it can be challenging to remember how much you have and avoid overspending when you can only see your balance when you seek it. 

Develop Spending plans – Help your children plan out their spending. Have them determine a target or goal and use the visualization techniques above to help them reach it. Show them that small steps toward achieving a goal can be rewarding.

Use Reminders – If you give an allowance, have them set an alarm to remind you when to pay them their allowance. Reminders are a great way to remove the burden of remembering to do a task. This will be a skill children with ADHD can use when they become adults.

 

Conclusion 

 

What I want more than anything else is to help prepare children with ADHD to manage money successfully once they are on their own. The best way to do this is to

  1. Teach them the value of properly managing their money.
  2. Give them chances to manage money while they are at home
  3. Help them build systems that will mimic the systems they will need to utilize when they are an adult

Help your children learn sound financial literacy principles and how to use systems to manage their money. They will be well prepared for the years ahead if you do both.

 

Financial literacy month: Why you should care

Financial literacy month: Why you should care

What and when Is financial literacy month, and how do you make the most of it?

Financial literacy month is held every April in the United States and November in Canada. The purpose of this month is to highlight the importance of financial literacy, promote programs that teach people about personal finance, and, most importantly, encourage people to take action to take control of their finances.

Financial literacy is an essential skill for everyone. It can help you make wise decisions about your money, setting the stage to hit your financial goals while feeling less stressed and more in control of your money.

When is financial literacy month?

April is Financial Literacy Month in the United States. In Canada, financial literacy month is in November. The month is an excellent opportunity to brush up on your money management skills. Whether you want to start saving for a rainy day or retirement, financial literacy month is a good time to assess your financial health. 

Financial literacy month is the perfect time to build or review your budget, create a plan to pay down debt, or save for the future.

Why financial literacy matters?

 

Money matters. It always has, and it always will. In today’s society, being financially literate is more important than ever. Being financially literate means understanding financial concepts, making informed decisions, and managing your finances effectively.

It doesn’t always take massive changes in your life to reach your objectives. Small changes in the way you spend, save or manage debt can often have a significant impact over the long term. Financial literacy is understanding what to do, when, and why to reach your goals.

What is financial literacy month?

Financial literacy month is an annual national campaign that takes place over one month to help people improve their financial literacy.  

Intuitions, individuals, and organizations that focus on financial services often use this month to advertise their services while also offering training and materials to help increase financial literacy.  

In general, it is a month when the importance of financial literacy is highlighted, and a greater effort is made to help individuals increase their literacy level. Because so many different organizations focus on financial literacy simultaneously, it is a great time to learn more about money management, no matter where you are on your financial journey or learning style.

Ideas for financial literacy month 

 

There are many ways to take advantage of financial literacy month. Here are some ideas of how you can get involved and improve your financial literacy:

  • Take a financial literacy course. Many online and in-person classes can help you learn more about personal finance.
  • Read books or articles on financial literacy. Researching different financial subjects can help you better understand personal finance concepts.
  • Subscribe to new podcasts to get the info you need in a way you enjoy receiving it. Here are a few of my favorites: Money Dad Podcast$heMoneyRadioAbout that Wallet, Money Talk with Tiff, and The Struggle is Real.
  • Create a financial plan. Use an in-person professional or go online. Your financial plan is your road map to a better future.
  • Make a budget. This can be a great first step to getting your finances under control. Figure out how much money you need to cover your basic expenses, and then allocate money for savings and debt repayment. An app like YNAB can be a huge help, and here is a YouTube channel made just for YNAB.
  • Subscribe to a YouTube channel like Teri Slater or Your Margins Matter
  • Start saving and investing for your future. It’s never too early (or too late) to start saving for retirement. Even if you can only save a small amount each month, it will add up over time.
  • Follow an influencer @teach.kids.money, @YourkidsTheirMoney, @rachel_talksmoney, and @artsandbudgets
  • Pick a debt to pay off. You can do it alone and figure out which debt you want to tackle or if you need some help, here is a resource that focuses on Ditching Debt (Click here for a 15% discount.)

History of financial literacy month 

 

Financial literacy month was first established nationally in 2004 in the United States.  It was already recognized by several states before that date. But in 2004, the United States Senate passed Senate Resolution 316 unanimously, making April financial literacy month across the country.

Financial literacy has been in Canada in the month of November since 2010.

Since its inception, Financial Literacy Month has been an opportunity for organizations across the country to promote financial literacy and education. Each year, financial intuitions provide resources and materials to help individuals and families improve their financial well-being.

Each year more events are held virtually and in person to help educate and support people’s financial literacy. Events and activities include workshops, webinars, and drop-in sessions

Financial Literacy Month final thoughts

 

Financial Literacy Month, April in the USA and November in Canada, is a great time to learn more about money management and how to make the most of your finances. 

There are many resources available to help you better manage your finances. With a little effort, you can gain the financial knowledge and skills you need to improve your financial health and well-being

21 Things You Didn’t Know About Gift-Giving

Two persons exchanging gifts

21 Things You Didn't Know About Gift-Giving

We are fully into the gift-giving season  with all the ups and downs that come with it.  

Are you a perfect gift giver who knows exactly what to get everyone on your list? Or are you the “what do you want me to get you this year” gift buyer (like me) who wants to maximize the utility of the gift, even if it comes at the cost of spontaneity and surprise?  

Well, whoever you are, and at the risk of sounding like a scrooge, here are a few things you may not know about gift-giving.

1. Received gifts are valued at 10-33% less than their actual cost. 

 

2. Gift givers often focus on the moment of exchange when purchasing gifts (i.e. the short-term impact of giving). 

 

3. Gift receivers are more focused on the lifetime ownership of a gift (i.e. how much benefit will this gift provide me over the long-term). 

 

4. Gift givers believe the surprise/wow factor matters a lot to the value of the gift. 

 

5. Gift receivers care less about the surprise factor than the giver. 

 

6. Gift givers place more value on the presentation of the gift than the receiver (wrapping paper, bows, etc.). 

 

7. Receiving a gift can create an obligation to reciprocate. 

 

8. Giving/receiving a thoughtless gift can hurt a relationship. 

 

9. A gift’s cost does not predict the receiver’s happiness as much as the giver thinks. 

 

10. Recipients do not value socially conscious gifts as much as the givers hope (ex. donations made in your name, etc.) 

 

11. Asking and giving someone what they want will not devalue the gift. 

 

Three women exchanging gifts

12. Gift receivers can place more perceived value in gifts they have requested. 

 

13. Gift givers assume that “both solicited and unsolicited gifts will be equally appreciated”. 

 

14. Americans will spend, on average, over $900 on Christmas in 2022. 

 

15. Gift-giving obligations can come at the cost of other family financial obligations. 

 

16. Gift receivers value experiential gifts more than physical gifts of the same dollar value. 

 

17. Gift givers prefer to give physical gifts. 

 

18. Gift givers assume giving higher priced gifts will be appreciated more. 

 

19. Gift receivers can place more value in sentimental gifts (pictures, tokens of your relationship, etc.) than more expensive gifts. 

 

20. Gift givers are risk-averse when giving gifts (i.e., they don’t want to take a chance that a gift given won’t be appreciated). 

 

21. Gifts given at a random time (not a holiday or birthday) are valued more than gifts given on typical gift-giving days. 

 

Financial Literacy Books for Preschoolers and Up

Two kids reading books

Financial Literacy Books for Preschoolers and Up

This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read full policy here.

Times have changed. The books our parents read as kids may not resonate with your kids the same way. So for generation alpha, you will need to up your game with more modern kid money books.   Below is a list that focuses on money for kids born after 2010.

Why You Need to Read Modern Books 

 

I applaud the early attempts at kids’ books that tried to teach good money management habits, but while some did a great job, many missed the mark. Take the Berenstain bears book  The Trouble with Money which is still a best-seller, and I think it is awful. This review says it best “the messaging is confusing .” The last thing we want to do for our kids is add more confusion about money.  

As we know, culture has changed. Our understanding of how we treat one another and how we honor our differences has come a long way. Unfortunately, some of our bookshelves have not kept up with where we are. We see it all the time. We pick up a book we remember from childhood only to find some messaging that isn’t quite right for the 21st century. Thankfully, the newer books available to our kids have removed and updated the langue and the messaging. Gone are the days of body shaming, toxic masculinity, or gender norms. As a stay-at-home dad, this is very important to my family and me. 

I accidentally introduced some outdated concepts to my son recently when I tried to read the Richest Man in Babylon, one of my all-time favorite books. While I knew the book was not written for children, I knew it was PG with great personal finance lessons. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it past the first few pages when I realized this book was written for a different time. The book still has great potential, and parents could read my revised version to a child, but the original version, like so many of the books we remember, may need to be left in the past.

A mother reading a book to her daughter

Why Should You Read Books about Money to Your Kids?

 

We have a short window of time to teach our kids good money habits before they are off on their own. Books are a great way to educate while we entertain.

Picture books are especially appealing to young children. That is even more true when our children see themselves in images and stories. Great books pull children and get stuck in their heads. So what better way to teach a fundamental life skill than in an activity that your kids are excited to be a part of?

The habits and skills of good money management have not changed in centuries. Spend less than you make, have your money work for you, and protect the wealth you build. But what has changed is us and our views. The list of kids’ money books below are for the modern parent. I’m sure you will love all of them.

Books about Money for the Alpha Generation: Preschool and Up 

 

So here is a list of money books written for kids in the last few years that can speak to the alpha generation (kids born between 2010-2024) in a way that is both informative and appropriately modern.

Early Reader (6-10 Years)

17. Money Plan by Monica Eaton

23. Stock Explore by Nicolette DiMaggio

30. Shark Scam by Sheila Bair

Financial Literacy Books for Preschoolers and Up: Final Thoughts

Giving your child the gift of financial literacy will pay off in the long run. But take advantage of their natural curiosity and their love of literacy to help them develop their financial literacy skills.

If there are other titles you think should be added to this list, contact me at hello@cliftoncorbin.com.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Financial Literacy?

Tracking expenses using a calculator and a notebook

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Financial Literacy?

Financial literacy is a valuable life skill. Understanding and using basic financial concepts can help you make better decisions about your money. However, are there any downsides to being financially literate? In this article, we’ll explore financial literacy’s advantages and disadvantages.

Financial Literacy – What Is It?

 

Financial literacy is the ability to understand and use financial concepts. It includes understanding your financial status, interest, and taxes and managing money to reach your financial goals. Financial literacy also involves understanding credit, investing, and risk management.

According to a study by the Milken Institute, 57% of Americans are financially literate. But unfortunately, almost half of the population lacks the knowledge to make sound financial decisions.

The good news is that anyone can learn financial literacy at any age. There are many resources available to help you improve your financial literacy skills. Here are a few suggestions:

A man counting his money

The Advantages of Financial Literacy

 

Many advantages come with being financially literate. For one, you’re able to manage your money more effectively.  

People who have high levels of financial literacy tend to:

  • Save more
  • Pay less in fees
  • Invest more wisely
  • Feel more confident about their finances

Being financially literate also gives you a sense of control over your finances. You know where your money is going and what you need to do to achieve financial well-being. That can lead to a more stable financial future and peace of mind.

Finally, financial literacy can help you build wealth over time. Understanding how money works can make better financial choices with long-term benefits. This can help build financial security and stability for yourself and your family.

A woman using her card to pay

The Disadvantages of Financial Literacy

 

Materialism

So what are the downsides of financial literacy? Some may argue that focusing so heavily on personal finance could make some people more materialistic and obsessed with money. While this is possible. Focusing on how to grow your wealth could lead to some materialism. Part of financial literacy is knowing:

  • When you have enough 
  • Recognizing that growing your wealth requires consuming less, not more. 

Also, a considerable part of financial literacy focuses on being grateful for what you have and recognizing that donating, charity, and volunteering are a part of personal finance.

Overconfidence

My father once told me that a little bit of information could be dangerous. Another concern some may have is that financial literacy is that some who believe themselves to be financially literate could overestimate their ability to manage money. This overconfidence could lead them to make poor decisions, such as taking on too much debt or investing in high-risk ventures.

While a valid concern, part of being financially literate is having the skills and knowledge to know when to do or not to do something with your money. The key is to understand your risks and seek out information and knowledge to make the best decision with the information you have. Is it possible to become overconfident? Yes, of course, but as long as you set up systems to make the most of your money and make the right decisions when it counts, overconfidence shouldn’t be too much of a concern.

A False Sense of Security

This goes hand in hand with overconfidence. Being financially literate could make you feel like you can withstand anything. And if you have your numbers right, save appropriately, and invest wisely, you likely could handle most things. But if the last few years have tough us, anything pandemics and great recessions can come out of nowhere and make a mess of our finances. 

But if you are investing for the long term, have a well-funded emergency fund, and live within your means, you can weather even the most unexpected financial storms.

A woman writing down her future plans

How to Become Financially Literate

Many think being financially literate means knowing how to save money and investing it in the right places. However, there is so much more to financial literacy than that. To be financially literate, you need to understand all aspects of your finances, including your income, debts, expenses, and assets.

You can do a few key things to become more financially literate:

  1. Start tracking your spending. This will help you see where your money is going and where you can cut back.
  2. Create a budget and stick to it. Tracking your spending will help ensure you are not spending more than you can afford.
  3. Make a plan for your future.

Set goals and figure out how you will reach them. Use the information you gained from paying attention to your spending, debts, income, and aspirations.

Conclusion

 

In conclusion, financial literacy has both its advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, being financially literate can help individuals make more informed decisions with their money and avoid debt. On the other hand, financial literacy can also lead to people becoming more materialistic and obsessed with money. However, the advantages seem to outweigh the disadvantages, making financial literacy a valuable skill to have. 

Those who are financially literate are able to make sound financial decisions, understand complex financial concepts, and manage their money effectively. 

Financial literacy is a tool that can help people achieve financial stability and security.

This question we all ask that needs to be retired!

Kids going off to university

The question we need to be retire!

Introduction 

I’m going to take a shot in the dark. If you are in your late 20s or older, you are likely working a different job than you did when you graduated. Maybe you are in the same organization, but your title and responsibilities have changed. But, on the other hand, if you are older, say forty and up, you are likely doing something you couldn’t have dreamed of doing when you were in school.  

How many of us know someone who graduated from biology and now works in the audit department. Or someone who graduated as an electrician and is now a founder or CEO of a business. The data is in. The average adult will have 12 jobs throughout their lifetime. The days of staying in one position in the same company have long passed.

In just the past few weeks, I’ve spoken to several friends who told me their stories of their career twists and turns. Stories of gap years, multiple roles, voluntary and involuntary time off work, the contemplation of solopreneurship, going back to school, and everything in between. So if getting a job and staying in it for your career has passed, why are we still asking our children, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” If the Great Resignation has taught us anything, it is that we need to retire that question. Just as our jobs do not define the person we are or will be, neither does our degree. That is the message we need to be providing our kids.

The Pressure

 

The pressure kids are under early on to figure everything out is not The Question Stressing a teenage girlsustainable. So many teens feel this intense pressure to get into the best schools, know what program they have to get into, max out on extra-curricular activities, and have every step of the next fifty years planned out. Combine that pressure with all the uncertainty the last few years have brought, and I think this is too much to ask of our young people.

Ask most adults in their 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s what they want to be when they grow up, and they will jokingly admit that they are all still trying to figure it out. I know I am. So if adults, with all the wisdom of hindsight, are still figuring out our professional lives, why would we expect a teenager to know better?  

And that pressure is causing massive problems to young people’s mental and financial health.

 

The Mental and Financial Burden

 

Most of us are aware of the student loan crisis. Student Loans in the US total more than $1.7 Trillion. That is a thirteen-digit number, thirteen! That amount is unbelievably high. Even with the recent debate over student loan forgiveness that crisis will likely get worse. In the short term interest rate, hikes will raise the cost of loans. And debt forgiveness does nothing to address the root cause of the problem, the growing cost of higher education.

Managing massive student loans is a heavy burden to start your adult life. That burden is even harder to carry for those who don’t finish their degree. Now they have the loans without the benefit of the credentials. 

That debt burden is causing young people to put off major life decisions like getting married, having kids, or buying their first homes. It is also forcing them to make decisions that impact their short and long-term financial well-being. They are putting off building an emergency fund or saving for retirement. And those sacrifices don’t even take into account the feelings of stress, anxiety and depression that can come with adding a mortgage size payment to your budget before you have a house or a job.

 

Reframing The Question

 

I hope we can help motivate more students and reduce the overall stress levels if we start to reframe post-secondary education. The degree you choose will not define the rest of your life! Many adults learn this after years in the workforce. But it is not the messaging we give to our children when we ask them, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” 

Earning a degree gives you a foot in the door. It is your opening move in the chess game of your professional career. Once you have that first job, you can course-correct if necessary. Change roles, change companies, change careers altogether. I think this reframing could take some of the stress off our young adults and give them the motivation to finish their first degrees. 

My First Degree

I floundered in my first years of university. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I started my degree. My dedication to the degree was so low that I was kicked out of my program. Fortunately, I have that gene that gets motivated once someone tells me I can’t do something. Being kicked out of my engineering degree was the motivation I needed to get my grades up, get back in the program and earn my degree. 

But the funny thing is, even when I was motivated to graduate, I knew my degree was not the line of work I would want to do. I knew that the degree would only be a means to an end. I knew that because we were in the middle of the dot com bubble and engineers were in demand.  

What I “knew” turned out to be a bust once the bubble burst, but I was still valuable because of the skills I had picked up on my education journey. Those skills led to my first job out of university and also gave me insight into what I did and did not want to do going forward.

 

Kids going off to high school

A New Better Question

I think it is time we change up our question. Again, it goes back to my desire for us to speak to our kids with more intention when it comes to money matters. Instead of asking “what do you want to do with the rest of your life?” A question that is daunting to most adults. Let’s ask, “What is something you can imagine doing for the next five years?” 

Yes, just five years. Five years is enough time to earn a degree and give a career a shot.   Five years is also a little more than the average amount of time most adults stay in any one job. Phrasing the question this way gives our kids a bit of an out. Dedicate yourself to this task for five years. If you don’t like it after five years, you will still have the degree and maybe even some work experience. You might even have something more valuable than either of those. You may learn what you don’t want to do.

Don’t have our children try to think about what they could do for the next 50 years. That time horizon is just too long; chances are almost no one will do the same thing for that long anyway. So let’s ask them, what interests you? What is something that interests you enough that you could stick with it for five years? Even if it gets hard, you have enough interest to stick with the good and the bad for five years.

I hope that by asking the question this way, we can help focus and motivate our kids. Motivate them without putting too much pressure on them. And hopefully, that will help to get more of them into the workforce and on to their first, second or third careers.