Do Young People Need To Budget?
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Are you super money savvy? Or do you not really know how to handle your p’s? NCS Grad Lucy is here to give her opinion on whether it’s a good idea for young people to budget. Here’s what she has to say…
Our experiences are, undoubtedly, defined by money. It’s hard to dismiss when every product we purchase is valued by whichever brand slaps a label on it and chooses the price. Unless we paint our skin ogre green and set up a squatter’s hut in the middle of an abandoned swamp, money is everywhere.
But why are teenagers ushered out of budgeting conversations and told not to worry about that kind of thing?
At 17, we ask permission to use the school bathroom, yet at 18 we’re expected to understand the intricacies of rent and how to manage student finance with no real education on it.
So, yes, budgeting is essential.
But it’s not like I expect a 15-year-old’s first paycheck to be used to buy stocks from the local bakery. That kind of spending is exciting but shouldn’t be the first thing you learn to do. Not everyone is a rich business-investor from their after-school job at Primark. I for one shrink away from the idea of investing my measly minimum wage, but that shouldn’t stop me knowing how to.
So how do we combat this stigma?
For one, real budgeting and personal finance should be focused more on in school - not giving teenagers a pat on the head and a quick 10-minute lecture. Things like the risks of overdraft and how to cope when you can’t make ends meet, should be taught.
Unless you’re lucky enough to have inherited a life-time supply of tinned beans and amazing connections, you might always be a few bad months away from losing financial stability. That’s why teens learning how to budget is vital. We should know exactly what to do if we start feeling unsure about our income.
This stereotype of immature and incapable teenagers is deadly. We’re more than capable of making decisions and learning vital life skills fundamental to growing up. And one way to break this stereotype is to simply ask more questions. Discuss budgeting freely with your parents or guardians, read up on financial decisions before you make them, or consult your bank. Money is a tangled web of all things unfamiliar, and it’s constantly growing. Even experts need the occasional guide!
Understanding budgeting skills won’t save the world, that’s for sure. But having knowledge about where your money is going and how much you are entitled to is a large step in overcoming uncertainty.