The year was 1990, and 18 was not looking so bad for this soon to be high school graduate. The Fall of the Berlin Wall and The Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse. The United States was the beacon of freedom, hub of prosperity, sole superpower, and the gateway to prosperity was bright and shining ahead. I had a brand new car, went on a cruise, and planning for college with no worries of loans or college debt. I was on top of the world, and the world was mine. The dream was alive for me turning 18..I never thought 40 would be in the near future, but the 22 years flew by in several moments in time.
Fast forward to 2012, I was 18 in 1990, and life has gone 22 years into the future and turning 40. The world has changed, and I have changed. I did graduate from college, and had a very successful career in banking. The truth is many graduates of my high school class were either in a better position or not in the position when I was 18. The two decades were to have years of plenty in money and success in my career. Other years would see my mistakes almost destroy everything, and medical illness would threaten my life twice to emotionally erase the fight and drive inside.
I was living the boom. I thought that the boom would be forever, but the achievements of my Father and Uncle at 40 would be a new starting point in my existence. They did not live the security of life as granted to me all my life. The older dog saying is so true. It is harder to learn new tricks. It is more difficult for an adult to learn to read than a child. The same is true for financial habits and knowledge. Life did not explain that events would happen under and out of your grasp of control. The boom would become a bust.
The piggy bank is dead. Saving money is being taught by a piggy bank to a society where 3 year olds can text .When I hit the big 4-0, one little change at 18 would have made a high impact in my life for the rest of my life. It would take forty years to understand. The importance would come in a clarity of being educated in personal and business finance inclusive of learning to saving money, credit and borrowing knowledge, and smart money management beginning in elementary school. The impact would strengthen my abilities to make smarter decisions as an adult.
I was living the boom. I thought that the boom would be forever, but the achievements of my Father and Uncle at 40 would be a new starting point in my existence. They did not live the security of life as granted to me all my life. The older dog saying is so true. It is harder to learn new tricks. It is more difficult for an adult to learn to read than a child. The same is true for financial habits and knowledge. Life did not explain that events would happen under and out of your grasp of control. The boom would become a bust. Being a banker did not deter my success, but I did not realize the danger of being financially ignorant and intelligent at the same time.
In reality, my family were in a generation of community bankers being the teachers of finance. My family did not know how or what to teach to prepare for this modern world. I did not worry at 18 being giving a yoke of debt around my neck for a undergraduate degree. I could not imagine 22 years ago the debt burden our young adults face today by deciding to go to college with a mountain of debt at graduation and the current job market. We are a debtor society, and we are in too deep in the willingness not to change.
If I was 18 again, I would walk down for my high school diploma, and I would have another milestone in addition to my diploma. I would have an education system to hold a small business ownership fair in parity to a science fair. I would have been educated to save money for the future and charity to assist others in the right situation, credit savvy, and less expectation of the new goodies for my family to provide. I would know that saving for a house was expected, and I would be educated in money matters to not be led by words or business practices to hurt and not enhance my financial ownership of my life.
Material world is useless without a spiritual world. At 40, the happiest people were my grandparents that I ever met in the entire world. They gave me the love and happiness that was robbed from them as children, and money was a tool for they had land including their home. A farm was filled with plenty of food, and toys and excitement were all around. They left knowing that I grew up in security in a great country.
Are you a parent or future parent? The benefactors of the 80′s, 90′s and before the 2008 crisis were gifts of a Depression generation to suffer and fought to leave better than the nightmare in their time. They left us prosperity and we are leaving debt and decline for the younger and future generations as our gift to the future.
Poverty is a challenge to change your child when you are barely surviving. Are you making 50k a year? 100k? 20k a week? 40% of people live paycheck to paycheck on households of 100k in annual income or more. My former client would receive a direct deposit of 20k personal income a week and would bounce checks after the second business day. My family grew up under poverty and became millionaires, but we are high income earners in despair. Broke in style is a situation of personal blame but financially ignorant. Both do take from the quality of life, and financial integration and education at 18 would change the financial ignorance, secrets, and system that we are forced to live and abide. We are a debtor society and the product of $500 credit card hand outs at college campus as introduction to credit and borrowing.
I want to help our next generation of future children and children under 18 to be equipped with the tools of financial knowledge, interaction, and engagement to have the tools to clean the rubble of financial chaos left behind. Those tools would have given this 18 year old a much different path, and my classmates would have the same knowledge to understand the disaster our financial system. We would be empowered to demand change in the financial services industry.
We are not educated to understand as banking seems complex, and we must fear the industry even when they break the rules.
We are old dogs. Teach your children. Educate your children with assistance and few changes of behavior to engage your new pups the new tricks. A Super Parent would know that the gift given fully at 18 would last for life. 18 and life can be many options for your new young adult of the future. Secure young adult will handle the decisions of college and courage to traverse the worst of economies as a financially savvy and educated 18 year old as a new part of the Saver society. The other option is college and degree with years of debt, or insecure young adult will get lost with no college and financial chaos that will lead to. A dark path unless a miracle would happen. That is letting your future 18 year old drink the cup of this debtor society in a much precarious economic situation. The educated child has a chance to survive and thrive but the latter will be given a subprime knowledge in survival. I would not want to live as the latter. I want to help our kids and the parents give a gift back. They must rebuild paradise, but paradise was built on a treasure of the freedom of the American Dream.
****THIS ARTICLE MAY BE REVISED AND UPDATE OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS….I AM LOOKING TO STATE MY CASE TO TEACH OUR NEXT GENERATION OF FINANCIAL EDUCATION BEFORE 18…..THIS FIRST ARTICLE IS A SERIES TO INTRODUCE SUPER PARENTING:MILLION DOLLAR CHILDREN BY 18