Financial Insecurity & Money Mentees
My generation is one faced with economic challenges that are different from those of previous generations. The Christian Science Monitor has a nice story about this. We’ve talked about this before on The SuperSpade, but the issue isn’t going anywhere, and thus warrants further thought and action.
I have said it before and I will say it again: instant gratification, especially when applied to financial decisions, is a sure way to monetary suicide. I used to be under the impression that this was simply a Black problem. However, more and more I see my compatriots from all backgrounds and makeups drinking the same Kool-Aid. The article says:
“Compounding these generational challenges is what Ms. Yochim calls ‘incessant commercial wooing’…with commercials filling 20 minutes of every televised hour, she adds, ‘No wonder we all suffer from *the wants.*'”
This ‘incessant commercial wooing’ is the pull of instant gratification. It’s what says that Hummers are more important than Houses and platinum jewelry is more important than the debt that [usually] comes with it.
How do we break this cycle? It is obviously not enough to provide counterexamples. No, the approach must be much more personal. This knowledge must be transferred, like all wisdom, one on one. This follows from the notion that an individual can and often will make a better decision when taken out of the context of the masses. This is a charge to the wealthy of the current and previous and current generations to get a “Money Mentee.”
It is proven that the Apprentice Model of teaching is the most effective: learning by following an example. For the purposes of this exercise, we will call this the Mentor-Mentee Model. The qualifications are simple, to be a mentee, you simply have to have a desire to learn about how money works. You may or may not be in financial trouble, that doesn’t matter. In order to be a mentor, we ask a bit more.
The first criteria is that you must “have money.” Note please that “having money” does not equal “having income.” This means that the amount of money you make is not the only deciding factor in the amount of money you have. To be a mentor you will have to present demonstrated success of your own economic plan (how much you save, how much you invest, etc.). After all, you need to have something to tell the mentee.
The interaction is straightforward. Weekly conversations over the phone, at least bi-weekly electronic email communication, at-least monthly face-to-face interaction. The content of these interactions should include, but not be limited to:
– discussion of past financial success and failure stories
– discussion of finance related books to read
– discussion of finance resources available (newspapers, magazines, websites, etc.)
– apprentice/internship opportunities (if the mentor is a business owner)
– reference to financial advising centers
The list goes on to infinity, but you get the idea. Such a program will thrive on the personal interaction between the Money Mentor and the Money Mentee.
This is how we will slay the savage beast of irresponsibility.