Not If, But When..
When we buy any kind of insurance, we do it to cover our bases incase something untoward happens.
This might happen, or it might not. We still buy the insurance because the possible downside is much greater if we don’t. And smart people are all about reducing the downside.
So we buy the car insurance, home insurance, health insurance, disability insurance etc while hoping that we never have to claim any of it.
But what about the instances when it’s not a question of a possibility but more an extremely likely, presumably definite probability.
When it’s not if…but when?
When your teen has to choose a credit card:
Does she, like most teenagers choose one based on attractive designs or which football team is splashed across the card? Or does she know the right questions to ask?
Does she focus more on asking about the benefits/ rewards offered by the card? Or does she know to ask about the associated costs and fees?
Does she, as so many teens do, see this as free money? Or does understand how quickly debt compounds and snowballs?
When she takes out a car loan:
Does she, as many teens and young adults do, simply buy the most expensive car they can get a loan approved for? Or does she see understand asset depreciation and the host of other aspects she needs to consider before making a decision?
When she goes shopping:
Does she fall prey to every marketing gimmick and sales tactic? Or does she understand enough about buying behavior, what triggers them and how to overcome cognitive biases around buying?
When she lends money to friends:
Does she, as most teens, do this without giving it a second thought? Or does she understand how this affects her relationships and can she evaluate the basis on which she should make these decisions?
When she considers taking out a student loan:
Does she see this as a hall pass to a few carefree years before she begins to take on life as responsible, earning adult? Or does she understand the cost, long term impact and how this should impact her learning and earning capability?
When she’s old enough to start investing:
Is she susceptible to ubiquitous get-rich-quick schemes being peddled by scam artists? Or does she have an intelligent understanding how investing really works, what to expect and how best to start?
When she get her first pay-check:
Is her first experience with her earnings going to be a bloody 1–2 jab, followed by a knock out punch? Or a beautifully choreographed dance where she know exactly how to plan and manage her finances smartly so that she’s consistently and effortlessly building toward a secure financial future?
There is no downside to to ensuring that teens and young adults are empowered to take control of their financial lives.
Research continues to prove how it leads to better decision making, heightened confidence and increased self-efficacy.
When the statistical likelihood of these situations arising is all but guaranteed how can we, in good conscience, fail to insure our teens against the devastating impact?
Let’s remember that it’s not if….but when.