I was recently invited to do a Skype call with about 20 high school students who are taking a Personal Finance class. I met their teacher, Brian Page, at a financial education conference last month. Brian was named Financial Education Teacher of the Year and once you meet him, it’s obvious why. He leaps outside the box to engage kids through interesting and fun activities and even invented an award-winning game called Awesome Island. It really is an awesome resource for teachers, community groups, and families who want an innovative way to introduce kids to fundamental money concepts.
Before our call, Brian’s students created a list of financial questions that they wanted me to answer. Interestingly, most of their questions were about how to build a good credit score. They made it clear that they’re gunning for a car loan as soon as humanly possible! At the end of the call, Brian asked me if I had any final tips for kids age 16 to 18 who are getting close to graduation and taking on more financial responsibilities.
Examine Your Money Mindset
It’s funny, but the advice I gave them is the same advice I give many adults: Examine your money mindset. More specifically, I invited the kids to challenge the stale mindset that retirement is what happens to people in their 60s or 70s. When you have enough financial resources, retirement can come at any age and be anything you want, like traveling around the world, becoming a full-time volunteer, or taking on a second career that you love but doesn’t pay. The term “financial freedom” is a pretty overused cliché, but I don’t have a better one for describing what having financial assets can do for you. It’s about being able to choose what you want to do when you want to do it.
When saving for the future isn’t something you dread, but morphs into something really exciting, I’m certain that you’re more likely to do it. This is how your mindset can become your best ally in creating financial success. But developing a vision for your future that really jazzes you up isn’t just a challenge for high school kids–I know middle-aged folks who haven’t started saving for retirement yet because they also think it’s too far away!
Why Money Mindset Is So Important
When I talk to adults who are procrastinating saving for retirement, what I find is that they equate retirement with being old, disabled, or unable to get up and work every morning. It’s a mental road block that stops them dead in their savings tracks because they feel like building a financial nest egg is like accepting defeat. I totally understand this, but my recommendation for how to get past that mental roadblock is to replace those negative thoughts with ones that inspire you. When I think about retirement, my money mindset takes me straight to the idea of financial freedom—not to being old and decrepit.
A 50-something solopreneur that I worked with recently told me that he didn’t have any retirement savings because he wants to live in the moment and not “worry” about the future. Obviously he equates saving with worrying and that’s a money mindset that will really prevent him from ever achieving financial success. Ironically he’s someone who chose his line of work to experience independence and financial freedom!
Let Your Values Drive Your Financial Goals
There are many reasons why people never get started saving for the future or might not be saving enough. The first step to improving your money mindset is to figure out what matters to you and your family the most. Once you know what you value, it’s pretty simple to create goals that will motivate you to jump into action. Go ahead; take a moment to reflect on your personal values and ask yourself whether they’re aligned with your personal finances or not. I could probably take a look at your bank account and tell you what you value, because how you spend your money says a lot. So, does your bank or credit card account accurately reflect your top priorities? If not, it’s time to create some new financial goals.
How to Improve Your Money Mindset
Your money mindset lays the foundation for your entire financial life and that’s why I wrote about it in the very first chapter of my book, Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich. If you’d like some help creating a more successful money mindset, I’m going to be following Brian’s lead by stepping outside the educational box and offering something new—a free teleseminar. We’ll cover the topic of money mindset in depth and I’ll give you five ways to transform your finances that have worked for my one-on-one coaching clients and for me.
To find out more about this upcoming free teleseminar, visit MoneyMindsetSolutions.com where you can register for the call and also get access to the replay recording if you miss the live event. I’ll talk to you then!