PITTSBURGH, Dec. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- "The Missing Semester" author Eugene M. Natali discusses the importance of millennial financial education.
Tis' the season, and as Dr. Seuss's Grinch reminds us,
"That's what it's all about, isn't it? That's what it's always been about. Gifts, gifts...gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts!"
A publicist who recently emailed Matt Kabala and me about our book The Missing Semester sounded eerily similar: "Neither audiences nor the media are going to be particularly inclined to listen [to advice] about the virtues of frugality and financial prudence. From now until Christmas, the mantras are going to be buy, buy, buy. . . pay later."
This holiday season, yes, "buy, buy, buy" will prevail, but maybe there's time between gifts for a brief lesson in "frugality," and "financial prudence." Why? A recent article on CNBC, "Six Feet Under as a Retirement Plan?" suggested that death is the new de facto retirement because almost no one is saving enough.
In talking with adults about money during the past 12 months, Matt and I have heard one resounding theme, "I wish I knew, when I was younger, what I know now." Well, that suggests an opportunity, doesn't it? It's not too late to help today's young avoid the money mistakes that many of us have made. As parents ourselves, we recognize the importance of "this" subject, and we tried to write a book that our kids would one day enjoy reading, one that would inspire them to take control of their financial future.
In October I spoke at the Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators 2013 conference. These are folks on the front line in the battle to teach money basics to 'millenials', and to help prepare them for the choices ahead. Where to go to college is often the first big "money" choice that many young people make. At the conference we discussed why we as a nation continue to send our graduates into the "real" world, the world of financial responsibilities, so ill-prepared for the money decisions that await. A member of the audience asked, "If you could deliver your message in one sentence, what would it be?"
Age is an opportunity.
It's an opportunity—an opportunity to teach and guide— so powerful that it could transform the lives of a generation. A lesson in the power of compound interest, or how to avoid costly mistakes with credit cards, car-buying, debt payment (mistakes that can continue to affect us for, literally, decades), is a gift that in fact keeps giving.
In America we have control over our choices, whether the clothes we wear, the bike we ride, the trips we take, the college we choose, or the career we pursue. And choices have consequences. This holiday season might be the time to buy (or give) a book such as The Missing Semester (yes, there are other good ones) –to read it with kids or grandkids, and to talk about some part of it—over a slice of apple pie, or a cup of coffee.
About the Author:
Eugene M. Natali, Jr. is a Senior Vice President at C.S. McKee, L.P. and co-author of "The Missing Semester". The book is a financial guide for young adults and was awarded the 2013 EIFLE Book of The Year.
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