Thinking about sound financial management is something an individual can think about at just about any age. Most individuals really think about it as they start thinking about retirement plans. Couples begin making strong financial decisions when they are making big financial decisions such as buying their first home, starting a family, or sending a child off to college. Young adults are starting to feel the burden of monetary pressures earlier in life, struggling with student and credit card debt because they have not been properly educated in the ever changing world of economic decision making.
Children who have been guided with any personal finance lesson plans starting at a young age, and who have the opportunity to exercise responsible decision making, are more likely to make more sound choices as adults helping to secure a more stable life. It really comes down to two factors- one is more psychological, one is more logical. Psychologically, adults can work with children on financial lesson plans that help to work with what money really is and the difference between a want and a need. Logically, it comes down to choices and opportunistic costs.
Learning to control emotional spending and delay instant gratification is a hard lesson for young children. If you know an adult who just can’t say no to that new toy or pair of shoes even though they are swimming in debt, they are most likely emotional spenders and let their feelings control their spending. Finding lesson plans that help children understand what money is, and the difference between a want and a need- and learning to delay the purchase of a want is essential. If they can master this, they will be able to master skills such as saving money later on in life. They will also be able to prioritize later on in life.
Making the right choices is a financial lesson plan that can be started young, but may take the post–college years to the mid-college years for financial lesson plans to really take place. Personal finance is something that a personal really never stops learning. It is all about decision making. Making the right choices and weighing costs and risks is evolving, and is based on where a person is in life and what the economic climate is like on the outside during the time the choice needs to be made. However, learning how to make choices and weigh decisions is a skill that can be taught from day one. Impulsivity can be curbed, but learning how to develop insight and to research options comes with education and experience.
In each stage of life, personal finance is a concept that is ever-evolving. Many of us wish by the time we retire that we could turn back the hands of time and make better decisions, but that isn’t an option that we are afforded. However, we can provide that option to future generations by teaching them about financial responsibility with real-life lesson planning and application to remove the emotional attachment to money and to apply logical decision making to choices revolving around opportunistic costs.