A relatively recent article in The Wall Street Journal (8/7/06) noted that the savings rate for people under 42 in the US was NEGATIVE 18%. My eyes almost popped out of my head! I think I reread that stat about twenty times to make sure I wasn’t missing something. I wasn’t. How could this have happened, and what can we do about it?
As you might suspect, my first thought is that we need to start building good money behaviors early. I thought this was an interesting first blog post because of such a revealing stat. Granted, a percentage of this debt is due to student loans. However, there’s no getting around the fact that Americans seem to be ignoring one of the tried-and-true axioms to attain financial independence: Don’t live ABOVE your means.
So how do we help our kids? By starting the money conversation with them early. We must be comfortable talking with our kids about money so that it’s not a mystery. That’s why we are running community outreach events with The Money Mammals: to help parents begin a dialogue with their kids. We know from surveys that parents want and need help, and we will work with schools, banks, libraries, community centers and more to assist parents in their efforts to raise kids with good money sense.