To quote Tracy Lawrence, time marches on...
It is important to notice that the current generation of younger people is getting involved with a lot of things that were either non-existent or simply not possible in the past. Today’s youth can write a text, talk to a friend, listen to a playlist of songs, update a social network page, and surf the Internet all at the same time from their "phone". When I grew up, we used a wall mounted phone to make "phone calls".
It should be fairly obvious that the younger generation has an entire world of opportunities within their reach. But along with these new and opportunities comes personal responsibility. Often, responsibility involves money and work. Today's generation needs to know how to handle their personal finances. That financial responsibility should be emphasized specifically for those getting ready to enroll, or are already enrolled, in a college or university.
Let's examine the case of an average college student. Their night begins at around midnight with either a late night out with friends, or a full blown house party. The next morning, reality kicks in with a hangover. All the money that was wasted on beef jerky and nacho chips, is now nothing but crumbs on the frat house floor. During the day there is class to attend, laundry to do, and papers to finish writing.
They probably went grocery shopping just 3 days ago, but all the food that was stocked up for the week is gone already. Now, here comes another trip to the nearest grocery store to restock the pantry shelves. What are they going to eat for lunch and dinner? They haven't even begun to deal with the real responsibilities. There are still payments to be made for rent, electricity, heating and water bills… wait. What about tuition?
In general, people have no problem spending more money even when they know there is no money left to spend. Even older, more mature, and supposedly more responsible adults fall into the same spending patterns. Why should we act surprised when our younger generation follows the same path we laid out?
The real problem is the lack of education being taught to younger generations, both from their adult parents and their circle of friends. The spending habits that you begin exhibiting early on in life carry through from childhood to adulthood. A teenager who spends sixty dollars on a "popular brand" shirt now will spend several hundred dollars for another "popular brand" shirt later on in life. These little "splurges" tend to stack up over time and become a huge financial crisis during one of life's many financial lessons. These "financial lessons" include divorce, job loss, credit card debt, or home and auto repossession.
It is much better for our younger generation to learn how money works before they graduate from high school. The earlier, the better! In the real world, where life consists of credit cards and mortgage payments, anyone who does not know how money works will end up in some sort of financial trouble. Young people should learn more about taking care of personal finances, while they are still young and able to change their course. The only problem that remains now is who is teaching them?