Amber at Yellow’s Green worries that her generation is “set up to fail financially from the get-go”. She believes a variety of factors stack the odds against today’s youth:

  • A lack of financial education. “We are not educated about financial matters in our school systems anywhere, unless you choose an optional money management class while in college (when it’s already late in the game).”
  • The cost of education. College costs are escalating, so that only the wealthy can afford to attend school without receiving financial assitance.
  • Predatory lending practices. Banks and credit card companies recruit young people constantly.
  • The cost of health care. Medical care is expensive, and if you cannot afford health insurance when you’re in school (or just out of school), you risk incurring debt.
  • Marriage and children. Amber wryly notes that “gettin’ hitched ain’t free” and that “makin’ babies ain’t free”.
  • Competing for a home. Home costs were escalating even before the recent U.S. housing bubble. She recommends reading The Two-Income Trap for a “more complete picture” about the impact of housing costs.
  • The rules have changed. Society is changing. Values are changing More often, both parents are working. People are living longer. All of these factors effect our approach to personal finances.

Amber makes some valid points. It is tough to get by, especially for young adults. But there is hope. You have the power to choose a financially successful life. You don’t have to succumb to the mindless materialism that afflicts so many of your peers. You can choose to save. You can choose to use credit responsibly. You can choose to instruct yourself about personal finance.

Because of a poor financial education — and sheer stupidty on my part — I struggled after college. I was deep in debt. I spent more than I earned. But I came to my senses, sought help, and taught myself sensible personal finance skills. I read books. I asked advice from people who seemed to “have it together”. I am overcoming the odds to become financially successful.

You can too.

The road to financial independence can be long, many are traveling with you. Stay focused. Don’t lose heart. You will succeed.

[Yellow's Green: Set Up for Financial Failure]

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