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There has been serious criticism in recent years about the education system and the basic skills that young people should learn in the United States. Home Economics comes to mind (everyone should probably know how to cook or sew a button), as well as financial literacy.
There are a lot of young Americans who are growing up without really understanding budgeting and fixed and variable expenses… But it might not be their fault. Maybe mom and dad (or other guardians) always paid for all of their expenses, making sure they had a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, and food in their refrigerators. Because that’s what you’re supposed to do as a parent, right?
So while there is no reason to blame anyone, often the process of learning what it costs to live and pay your bills is a rite of passage.
The current state of debt and financial fears It also doesn’t mean Millennials and Gen Z weren’t educated about saving or working. Many young people have had part-time jobs (although far fewer compared to Gen X or Baby Boomers), but they may also be able to use the majority of that income for discretionary spending – which never created room for a feeling of lack when they didn’t. I don’t have to pay rent or mortgage.
This scenario can ultimately create a challenge when you are finally on your own and now have student loan debt, credit card debt, utility bills, and required auto insurance. Especially if you are a young person moving to a big city for exploration and / or new opportunities, where the cost of living can be quite high.
If you are feeling nervous or sad about finances, you are not alone. If you’ve cried over your personal balance sheet or bank statements, you’re not alone either. According to yahoo! silver, a recent online survey of 1,004 Americans by CompareCards.com found that “7 in 10 Americans reported crying for money in their lifetime. Many raised concerns about their jobs or about making ends meet. Young Americans seem to be the most vulnerable to financial tears. About half of Millennials and half of Gen Z said they cried at least once in the past month because of the money.
So how can you cry LESS about money? Well the first thing is not to be too hard on yourself. But you’ll also want to create a plan that works for you. Every person deserves financial freedom, not a bank statement that makes them cry regularly.
Here are some financial literacy resources that can help you find your way out of crippling debt.
Books by Dave Ramsey – The Total Money Makeover – A Proven Plan For Financial Health
Bravely Go with Kara Perez – Feminist Economics + Inclusive Personal Finance
Debt Relief Programs – you will have to do your research, but there may be a program that is right for you and an agency that can help you set up a realistic payment plan for you
Student loan forgiveness – it is worth considering your options if you are feeling overwhelmed with student loan debt and there may be ways to get your loans canceled
Financial Advisor – consider working with a professional who can help you with your budget, investments and savings / retirement funds
And you can still cry because these are important things for adults … But I hope you trust yourself to research, explore, ask questions and find options that will give you more control over your financial situation.
If you aren’t already doing this, it can be as easy as starting with a budget to better understand your income and expenses. Being informed can help you plan better for the future and make you less inclined to cry.