Posted 11 February 2016

Teenagers: A 7 Step Guide to Financial Freedom

Our adolescent years can be the most challenging years of our lives. Schooling, coping with added responsibilities, finding our own, being comfortable in our skin as well as dealing with external influences. So many lucrative products, latest gadgets, ever changing trends that always seem so enticing, coupled with the added peer pressure to fit in and be ‘socially acceptable’ can be a formula for disaster.

Ridiculous amounts of money are invested into altering with our psychology and emotions to make purchases to ultimately increase our wants over our needs. Compulsive buying, impulse buying, emotive purchases are areas large firms look to capitalise. Advertising and marketing reaching our youth through their personal devices. The economic climate is tough, and getting tougher. I believe as youth, we need to understand the bigger picture, and understand it NOW.

Soon enough tertiary education will be fast approaching. Earning your own income will be required along with the inevitable; rent, groceries, transport/travel, car, registration,entertainment and the many other expenses that will pile up. In order to truly ensure these are manageable we must learn to form productive spending habits. Habits that are going to set us up to live the lifestyle we desire.

The issue of money can be a touchy topic and is somewhat taboo, but i believe it is integral to develop and improve our financial literacy regardless of the field we’re in. Money is something we have to deal with. And it is beneficial to do our first hand research. Nonetheless, no matter what our goals are and however noble they may be, we must learn how it works, how we can make it work for us goals and the rules and regulations of the country we’re in. How small tweaks in purchases, small adjustments to our spending can have compounding results in the future.

Here are some tips,

1. Start with the end in mind. Some youth know exactly the profession they want to be involved in, others are quite unsure. Nonetheless, its ok, seek the type of lifestyle you want to live, the education required and the industry or type of field you’d like to work in. And then work back from there. A profession based upon giving, adding value to peoples lives, will provide you with the ultimate fulfilment and personal satisfaction. Setting a career path based upon giving will ensure longevity, drive and motivation.

2. Get used to putting money away from now. Life is good when money is given to you as a child and you have the free will to spend all of it. But our approach often changes when it becomes hard earned money. We think twice about certain purchases. Furthermore, we need to be accustomed to setting some of it aside, for the purposes of saving (you might want to travel, do a course, make a large purchase, buy gifts etc) and for the purpose paying for taxes/other fees that are inevitably part of growing up. Not getting to keep 100% of your earning is a norm during adulthood 🙂

3. Form effective spending habits. Habits that are going to set you up for success. A person that earns $10 will often have the same spending patterns if they are earning $100 or $1000. So it is an area we need to manage and develop the will power from early on. Learn the importance of budgeting, like with time management, we need to learn money management and it requires keeping in mind the larger goal or bigger picture as previously mentioned. Strengthen that will power!

4. Just because you are eligible for a credit card it does not mean its required. Credit cards do have advantages, but also come with hefty fees. Banks are there to profit, they are a business that aims to profit through their financial products that can be costly if we don’t use them correctly. Don’t disregard the jargon. Be mindful of this! Use wisely, pay your credit card borrowings and fees early!

5. Seek a mentor. Search for people that have paved the way. Seek out their thoughts and methods. Ask questions. Pick their brains. Success is built through relationships. Develop and sustain these relationships. This can really speed up your process of learning and save you time and money!

6. Look into building your assets, products that are going to appreciate over time. Learn the importance of investing, putting your money to work for you. Investing is financial schemes, shares, property, or a commercial venture with the expectation of achieving a profit. Set up a small business. Have basic knowledge of the economy, markets, rates and compound interest. Improve your financial literacy.

7. Saving the best for last; Continuously learn and invest in yourself! Gain new skills, build on experiences, get out of your comfort zone. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. We live in a world where employers aren’t willing to provide experience and employees find it difficult to get a job without having the necessary experience. Invest in your health. Put it on the top of priorities list. Because without health, all else fails! Have a passion for photography? Take courses/classes, purchase equipment, invest your time, work for free, build your reputation, your resume. Not only will you learn and develop as an individual but you may even forge your own career path!

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