The Cost of Not Understanding Your Finances: What our youth have missed out on


Something that I have been noticing with late teens and twenty-somethings entering the workforce is the low-level understanding of what things cost. As both a salon owner and academy educator, I have recently had several mind-boggling conversations with this age group that shows that they have been completely sheltered from the reality of the cost of living.

The impact of this is a distorted perception of the economic realities of creating and living an independent life. This lack of knowledge surrounding finances unfortunately comes across as self-involved. It shows up as a “me, me, me, I, I, I, just give it to me” point of view. “I showed up, didn't I? What do you mean it takes years of work, dedication, wins and losses to get what you have?” What have we missed?

youth financesPhoto by Elijah O'Donnell from Pexels

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a fallout of high inflation and the lack of affordable housing—it’s a serious issue for all of us. But, this often gets cited as the source of the problem as it is viewed as “not fair.” The truth is, life is not fair. To struggle is valuable, and given the stage of life that they are in, it is normal and appropriate. Somehow we are deleting this right of passage and it has weakened them. That being said, I do believe that we as parents have bubble wrapped this generation with our helicopter parenting style. We have been a great disservice to them as parents. We have not allowed them to get out into the world and skin their knees. We save them for our own selfish, fearful misguided reasons. To experience all the trials and tribulations that life has to offer is essential. 

If we as parents keep interfering and thwarting the painful and uncomfortable experiences in life, then we will not develop resilience in our newest adults. They will remain teenagers struggling in adult bodies and circumstances without the ability to fail, learn and become mature, wise and self-expressed adults. In my experience, we have a mental health crisis on our hands. It worries me deeply and pains me greatly to see so many of our young being diagnosed with mental health problems. Becoming their diagnosis and being locked in place.

What have we done? What do we need to do to turn this around?

To be clear I am not blaming anyone, particularly our young. We say all too often “what's wrong with this generation?” There is nothing wrong. It is what it is. This is a difficult subject and it hits home for many. If we can speak to our experience and own our part in it, then we have a shot at turning this into a positive outcome, with some great learning.