Money advice for young adults: why?

If you’re a young adult (college-age or slightly out of college), I’m guessing that retirement is the furthest thing from your mind. I know it was the furthest thing from my mind when I was that age.

Sadly, though, it typically doesn’t re-enter the picture until it’s too late.

Retirement is slipping out of reach for many people, leaving them with broken dreams and empty promises. Too many Americans have been working all their lives, only to realize that their was no light at the end of the tunnel. No pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Consider these facts:

  • Retirement savings in the United States are disturbingly low. According to a 2011 story by USA Today, 54% of retirees have less than $25,000 saved up. If the average life expectancy in the US is 75, and you retire at age 65, that makes an average of only $2,500 per year that is available to you during retirement.
  • A report by CNN Money shows that three fourths of middle class Americans will need to work during retirement, and 25% of Americans plan to work to at least age 80.

The need for personal finance education is clear. However, despite the urgent need for financial education, our schools still do not teach the subject. Financial education and money advice for young adults — as well as other real world skills — have fallen through the cracks.

What about your parents? Can’t they teach finance?

Possibly, though what are the odds that they’ll be able to go a good job? They may, but they also may have some fairly serious financial problems of their own! Talk about the blind leading the blind! If your parents have at least tried to teach you about personal finance, that’s great, but you should verify that what they taught you is solid.

So you want to hire a financial advisor to manage your money for you, right?

That is probably a bad idea too. If they’re offering their services “for free” then they’re making their money on the products they sell you, and those products may not be what you need. There’s a conflict of interest. Many financial advisors are working in their own best interest, not yours.

And the government?

Good luck there. With unfunded liabilities in the hundreds of trillions of dollars (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security) the promises are utterly, completely unsustainable. We did it to ourselves, but a default on these promises will happen, one way or the other. It’s as close to statistical certainty as you can get. It’s wise to plan for this by wise money management.

Your employer?

Do you really think they care? Perhaps in previous generations there was loyalty both from employer and employee, but no longer. To your employer, you are a cog in the machine, and one that can be easily replaced if the value you provide can be gotten more cheaply elsewhere.

Retirement pensions are going the way of the dodo, and are being replaced by defined contribution plans, or nothing. Retirees that have pensions are at risk.

YOU need to plan for your own personal finances and your own retirement

No one else is required to do it for you, and those who say they will do it for you, can’t, or won’t.

By learning to control money now, when you’re young, you reduce your financial dependency on others. It is time to let money work for you, not the other way around.

But first … remember this important piece of information!

This site is not enough.

Personal finance is complex, and there are many branching paths that can be explored more fully than any one site can show you. There is far more information than any one book or website can teach. The goal of this site is simply to demonstrate the importance of financial education, and lead you in the right direction to learn more.

Never stop learning more. There is always more to learn! You have your whole life to learn more.