I am a big believer that personal finance should be taught in high school. Many people who fall in the high school and college demographic don’t have much practical exposure to personal finance topics and they will soon be entering the real world, where every decision they make has the potential to have long lasting ramifications.
Unfortunately, most school systems either don’t offer personal finance classes or don’t make it a requirement, leaving the majority of students without exposure to these important topics until they experience them firsthand. Historically, this hasn’t been a good thing (think about all those student credit cards you were offered in college – all you had to do was sign up for a credit card and you got a free t-shirt or slice of pizza!).
Personal finance is a broad topic and can be difficult to understand when you don’t know where to start. That’s where the book, Generation Earn, by Kimberly Palmer comes into play. Generation Earn is geared toward young professionals, (it is subtitled The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back), but I also think it is a great book for anyone starting off on their own, including high school and college students, recent college grads, someone separating from the military or making another similar career change, or anyone else dealing with a major life change that affects their financial situation.
About Kimberly Palmer: Kimberly is the senior editor and personal finance columnist for US News & World Report where she writes the magazine column and daily blog, Alpha Consumer.
Generation Earn: The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back
There are three aspects of this book I love – the target audience, the outline, and the execution. This book is aimed at people who are building their personal and financial lives from the ground up, as is evidenced by the outline – Building Your Life, Creating a Home, and Changing the World. And this isn’t your typical dry personal finance book – it is written for a young audience and interspersed with anecdotes and examples that directly apply to this generation. Here are a few notes about the book:
Part 1: Building Your Life
The first section covers the basics everyone needs when starting out: Understanding how your earning, spending, and saving affects your ability to reach your financial goals. This chapter gives the reader the basics of setting up their finances so they can set and achieve their goals. other topics include managing your career, dealing with debt, staring an investing program, and planning for retirement.
Part 2: Creating a Home
Creating a home is one of the biggest challenges most people face. For example, most young adults have grown accustomed to a certain standard of living when they were growing up and many people try to maintain that same standard of living as soon as they enter the real world. But what many people don’t realize is that it took their parents decades to reach that level, and it will probably take younger generations a few years as well. This section focuses on paying attention to the difference between wants vs. needs, and making frugal choices to create the home of your dreams.
Part 3: Changing the World
This section of the book differentiates it from most other personal finance books. And I love it. This section discusses how anyone can make a positive impact on the world – either locally or on a large scale. Some of the topics include volunteering, philanthropy, non-profit work, and living green. There are a lot of ways we can make small changes in our lives that have an amplified impact.
To buy or not to buy? This is a book I will gladly recommend for any high school or college student, any recent graduate, or anyone who is looking to find their personal or professional identity. This book is a great gift for anyone in these demographics, and my copy will be going to my younger sister who is currently in college. I hope she uses it and enjoys it.