If I had stopped learning about personal finance as a kid, I’d be eating some serious financial dust today. Why? In the late 60’s and early 70’s, the following financial opportunities didn’t even exist:
- Online banking. I’d still be wasting my time waiting in line at my local bank.
- Automated bill pay. I’d still be writing checks, licking stamps, sealing envelopes, and missing payment deadlines.
- Personal finance management software. I’d still be wondering where my money was going, or working way too hard to figure it out.
- Real time account text alerts. I’d still be surprised to find out my credit card was compromised a month or two ago, or that I over-drafted my checking account.
- 401(k)s. I wouldn’t have automatically saved for retirement with each paycheck, reduced my taxable income, or received free matching money from my employer.
- Roth IRAs. My retirement investments wouldn’t be growing tax free. And my teens wouldn’t even have retirement accounts yet.
- 529s. I’d be letting taxes eat away at my kid’s college savings.
- Low cost index funds and ETFs. I’d still be gambling on individual stock picks, getting poor returns, and paying outrageous investment fees.
- Automated saving apps. I’d still be lacking the willpower and energy to take advantage of everyday opportunities to sock away some spare change.
- Prepaid cards. I’d still be using cash, bank debit cards, or (gasp) credit cards to teach my kids the financial ropes.
- Personal finance blogs and podcasts. I’d still be in the dark about most of the items above or struggling through boring finance books. I wouldn’t be perusing thought provoking posts on Mr. Money Mustache or laughing along to Stacking Benjamins.
And you? What would you be missing out on?
Make a list of the smart financial inventions that have emerged since you were young. Share it with your kids.
Sure, they’ll make fun of you for being a old fossil. But they’ll also absorb a crucial message: if they don’t keep learning about personal finance, they could be the financial dinosaurs of the future.
Get tomorrow’s tip here.