Owning your own finances

imagesTo many millennials, debt is a four letter word.  I fully appreciate that.  For years we made enough to make ends barely meet and had zero interest to go into debt attempting to live up to our desires.  We wanted to remain financially stable and hoped that when and if we began to make more income that we would not be laden with debt.

I had several jobs in college (and high school) and at one point began to understand credit cards.  I used those cards and kept the debt low enough so that I could easily deal with the monthly fee but I was paying the interest price for that cash.  It worked for me and I never let it get out of control.  I have seen plenty of people let it get way out of control where they have huge amounts of debt on several cards and can barely keep up with the monthly payments.  It is not a pretty place to be.

Decades ago, on our honeymoon, we were in Madrid and hung out with a very old friend of mine and her husband. He was from Spain and was in banking.  He made a comment that night about how my friend had come into the marriage with credit card debt.  In Spain, at least then, you couldn’t ramp up credit card debt but had to pay your bills in full every month.  That stuck with me.  You were forced to live within your means.  No splurging on something fantastic if you couldn’t afford to pay off the bill that month.

We certainly take risks but we also are fiscally smart.  We have passed that on to our children through endless conversations including lessons learned by giving them their own budgets to live on starting in high school.  What is interesting is that this generation is not building up on credit card debt like past generations.  They have seen their parents get into trouble.  They have seen some of their parents lose their savings due to the destruction in the global financial world.  They are fearful of living outside of their means.  I am seeing that in women and men.  Now more than ever women understand the power of being responsible for their own finances and they are owning it.

It is a different world than it was 20 years ago or even 10 years ago.  I applaud this generations fiscal responsibility. That responsibility bleeds into the choices they make for other things including jobs and purchases.  It is intellectual control.  Spain might have forced the citizens of their country to stay within their means but there is empowerment and freedom that comes with owning it yourself.  Knowing that you choose not to pick up that credit card and pay high monthly interest rates for that purchase you are craving is smart.  Instead you just save up for it.