Full Disclosure
January 19, 2007

Managing finances and personal youth development

As the twenty first century continues to unfold its many challenges how are the youth of our nation preparing to manage their financial future? It is in this regard that one sees that it is exceedingly important for us to educate our youth regarding subjects that will profoundly affect their adulthood and ultimately the survival of another generation. Today’s world demands that our youth have more knowledge and understanding than ever before. This is crucial as their knowledge and understanding of key issues will dictate the impact their lives will have on the systems of our Vincentian and global societies.{{more}}

In order for our youth to have a firm and rather assertive grip of their futures and by extension the future of our blessed nation, topics of great importance such as, but not limited to, free and private enterprise which leads to entrepreneurship, maximization of labour output in the public service, agriculture, politics and finances must be introduced and cemented at an early stage of the development of our youth.

It is debatable, however one can carefully defend the view that the youth of today have been raised in a more prosperous economic period than the generation before. As a result, we have the potential of being far more confident consumers than our parents which should have the general result of creating an opportunity for greater optimism – But are our youth really seizing the occasion? Or seemingly, do the youth of today have far more needs to be financed than the last generation?

For the average young person topics of immediate interest are dreams of receiving a pay cheque, financing one’s education, starting a business, and buying a car just to name a few. Many however fail to venture beyond the basic survival principles, into the more in-depth understanding of earning, spending, saving and investing. Many young people fail in the management of their first consumer experience, establish bad financial management habits, and stumble through their lives learning by trial and error. This is not the trend to prosperity.

Ideally, the time to think about banking and credit essentials as well as how to buy a home, start and manage a small business, invest for the future, and plan for retirement is now, while being a youth as it affords time to plan sufficiently. But, quite too often the reality is that those plans are far removed from thought. Many youth globally are grappling with raising a family that emerged too early in their life, providing the necessities of food, shelter and clothing and aspiring to reach the mythical self righteousness of living an American Dream in a Third World setting.

The latter years in the past century marked a turning point in the way we communicate with each other. This gave rise to the need for, and hype to purchase personal desk tops and laptops for those purposes. Further, the expansion of the global entertainment industry where the evolution of devices to listen to music continues from radio to a cross between the i-pod and MP3 player – the latest fad, and “must have” items for any youth globally who has access to money and are technologically driven.

A key to financial control is a budget. Budgeting is applicable even to the unemployed. A budget gives you a snapshot of where you stand financially and where you should be focusing. Being youthful does not mean that one must rely totally on someone else to do one’s budgeting – take control of your own finances. You may very well be allowing negative investment trends from the past to strangle your life. The watch word here is “prudence”. Further, budgeting makes you realize the importance of saving and how challenging it can be sometimes to achieve your own personal goals. You have to start somewhere, start now!

Equally important is the concept of “investment”. How willing are you to visit a bank and ask some questions? It might actually prove to be a worthwhile venture. An investment is simply a savings that grows. We must for a moment consider the fruitfulness of balancing our savings with the amount which we invest with due care. Investing is essentially making money work for you, not you working for the money for the rest of your life.

Planning your future is undoubtedly at the forefront of financial freedom. Dealing with money is no simple act, but a hefty responsibility. Make satisfying financial decisions by knowing and identifying which goals are important to you. Familiarize yourself at least with the macro-economic issues of our day and be reminded of the quote by Benjamin Franklin, “a penny saved is a penny earned.” The wheels of finances do not need to be reinvented, they simply require balance.