If ever there was a time for financial education it is now because more and more the concept of money is becoming abstract. People are spending freely without understanding the real impact that it can have on their life. When you can simply beep, scan or tap for your purchase then it is easy to buy whatever you want. When you have to part with larger and large amounts of physical cash it registers physiologically. The impact of handing over $500 in cash is very different from simply tapping your card. You may know the price and may even understand that it is expensive and out of range, but when you are using a digital form of payment you don’t immediately recognize or appreciate the impact that the purchase can have. When you’re using cash and something to not affordable you experience and understand that the moment you open your wallet. Digital payments methods have removed the impediment of not really having the available funds. What most fail to realize that the true cost of the purchase is actually much higher.
Millennial and Gen Z are particularly at risk of thinking of money in abstract terms and not connecting it with anything more tangible. Children today are growing up seeing their parents using digital forms of payment. For them, money is very much an abstract concept. All they know is that if you want to buy something you just have to use your card, beep it, scan or tap it! Many think the cards are the source of the money and don’t realize that they are just a conduit for using money. All the technological advancements are simply to allow a more efficient and convenient way to conduct transactions for all parties involved. It is not an eternal source of funds. It is essential to understand the fallout from the misuse of this technology, namely high debt and in the worst case personal bankruptcy.
It is necessary to connect digital spending with real world consequences. The reality is that many don’t make this connection either because of a general lack of understanding, or simply because they rather not think about it. The advances in technology do not change the fact that if you spend more than you have, you will be in debt and people can come and take away the things you have ! Credit card companies and payment companies in general make a lot of money when you don’t connect the dots yourself. They are happy to help you beep, scan and tap your way into bankruptcy. They make more money when this happens. I really think that credit cards should come with a warning “misuse can result is a bankruptcy and misery!”
Credit cards and other digital payment methods are NOT bad; you simply have to know how to use them effectively. A knife for example, can be used as a tool or a weapon. It can help you or it can really hurt you. Using a knife to prep dinner is a using it as a tool that benefits you. The same knife can turn into a dangerous weapon that can hurt you or others. The same instrument can have two different uses. Knowing how and when to use it can make the difference between chopping vegetables and chopping fingers.
This analogy really applies to credit cards and digital payments methods. Just as a knife can be used as a weapon or a tool, so too can credit cards and other digital payments. If you know how to use them properly, it can result in wonderful experience, but when you don’t understand how to use it, you end up in massive debt, stressed and overworked. To avoid hurting yourself, invest some time in learning the basics of managing your money. I will soon be releasing a couple of short and simple eBooks that give you the basics on how to handle the weapon you carry around every day. It behoves you to spend the time to understand how to use this powerful weapon that you have in your wallet or on your phone and if you have children it is even more important to start teaching them early the necessary skills for effective money management.
I will leave you to do an experiment for yourself. Figure out how much money you spend in an actual day. Then get this amount in actual cash and put it in your wallet. Spend ONLY that amount for the day. Pay attention how you feel when you pay with cash and how you feel when you see the balance getting smaller in your wallet. How do you feel when you finished all of the cash and you are not allowed to have anymore for the rest of the day?
I would really love to hear what happens, drop me a line and let me know.
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June 15th WEAR PURPLE