Dad, Am I Financially Dumb?

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Teenagers ask the darndest questions. As my son starts to figure out life and money, he has a ton of questions. “Am I Financially Dumb because I do not understand how to manage my money?”

Personal finance and understanding your relationship with money, on the surface, seems like common sense. 

Spending less than you earn is not rocket science, after all.

The problem is that actually spending less than you earn relies on repeatedly and consistently making good decisions in many different aspects of your life.

You have to learn how to control your impulses and you have to truly assess the impact of acquiring debt. These are modern life skills and, like it or not, we are not born with them. These are skills that we learn.

 Some of us are lucky and we learn these skills growing up. Others go to a school with a great education program or a teacher who can make money topics relatable. A large number of us had neither of these. We were dropped into adulthood without a good sense of the financial impact of our impulses and without a strong comprehension of how big of a hole we were digging for ourselves.

We learned these things the hard way.

None of this means that we were dumb. It just means we were never in a position to learn and understand money management. You now know what you don’t know. Now is the time to start learning the basics of money management and the negative impact of acquiring debt. It all starts with spending less than you earn. 
 
Son, “do not despair. You are not financially dumb”. The fact that you are asking me about managing and understanding money make me happy and is the first step towards eliminating financial ignorance.