March 13, 2017
Most people, whether they choose to heed the advice or not, know that healthy eating, regular exercise, not smoking, drinking in moderation, protected sex, brushing teeth twice a day and looking both ways when crossing the road are all sensible courses of action. They know it because Governments have always been at great pains to tell them. Our education system, directly or indirectly, underlines the points.
But when it comes to money, the fuel of almost every factor of our everyday lives, we receive little or no advice at all. And any advice we do receive is at the technical end of the spectrum, not the emotional.
Why is emotion so important when it comes to money? Because money pays for the good things in life. The things that we naturally want, and naturally want more and more of - because they make us feel good. The things that we are bombarded with messages to buy every day, in ever-increasingly easy ways of buying them. If we cannot control those feel-good emotions, there is nothing standing in the way of the road to ever-increasing debt and disaster.
If cancer, diabetes, bad breath, STDs and heart disease are the clear and present danger of not listening to the advice we are given. What about anxiety? Money is the biggest cause of anxiety for all age groups, although particularly among the young. And which problem has taken over minor niggles as the number one cause of work absenteeism? You guessed it, anxiety.
80 percent of life’s most defining decisions take place by the age of thirty-five. Yet we enter those vitally formative years, woefully under-equipped to deal with decisions of life and money.
WE ARE CALLING ON GOVERNMENT, COUNCILS, HIGHER EDUCATION, SCHOOLS, EMPLOYERS AND PARENTS TO TACKLE THIS ISSUE HEAD ON.
The financial hand dealt to the younger people of today is fundamentally worse than previous generations. The environment in which they play that hand is new and stifling – instant access, instant gratification, peer pressure, global access, more, more, more.
We are sitting on a time bomb of increasing consumer debt, under-funded pensions, spiralling cost of living and house prices. We owe it to the younger generations to know what they are facing. To have the tools to face it.
It is not enough to make financial advice ‘fun and engaging’ (read: patronising) - we have to put the power in the hands of the people holding the money, so that they can make the best decisions for themselves.
If they don’t want to get on the property ladder and travel the world, great - but let them make that decisions with all the knowledge they need to make it.