#SmartMoney | 5th Oct 2014

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Thank goodness for the weekend, for waking late and for strong coffee.

This week the #SmartMoney has been talking about credit cards vs cash, financial smarts for kids, and the way university students are being sold down the river.

Let’s get into it.

On Wednesday Debt Debs invited us to choose between cash and credit cards and she’s had a great response to her post with comment numbers well into three figures: “Credit or Cash? Pick Your Poison”

Personally I don’t have an issue with credit cards as long as they are used properly, and by that I mean paying off the balance at the end of each month. Religiously.

But the banks aren’t stupid. They know we’re weak. And they know you’re a sucker for the shiny stuff… we all like the shiny, don’t we?

So, knowing that you’re weak, it’s up to you to be honest with yourself and to take responsibility for your own spending. If you’re disciplined enough to pay off the balance at the end of every month, then why not buy things on a credit card? With cash back offers, credit score advantages and free insurance on your purchases, you’d be a fool not to.

But if you’re like a kid in a candy store when you get the plastic in your sweaty little fist, maybe cash is your best option. As Debs points out,

“There’s no right or wrong answer, but there’s a right or wrong answer for you.”

money lessonsThat leads me neatly to the next post which caught my eye from Shannon Ryan at The Heavy Purse who talks about how we teach our kids to understand the value of money and to adopt responsible spending habits from an early age: Essential Money Skills Every Child Needs to Learn Before Leaving Home

It’s a topic I feel strongly about because the younger generation seem to be heading towards a lifetime of over-indebtedness (particularly when you consider the massive debts young students are now expected to take on in order to get a university education) and I think a lot of it could be avoided if we took time to consider the implications of the money we’re spending.

It’s a topic I covered briefly in my own piece recently: Credit Virgins.

 

Alex Proudfoot

Alex Proudfoot

From teaching kids about the value of money, we move on to a discussion about the way we’re selling high school students down the river by pushing them into higher education when, in many cases, it may not be the best thing for them: “Today’s University Students Are Being Sold A Lie” by Alex Proudfoot was an insightful, honest assessment and it hit the nail on the head for me. There are far too many teens heading to university thinking it’s the only route to a decent job, when in reality many would be better off finding work after school instead of studying a soft-option degree course to get a meaningless graduation certificate and then spend the rest of their working lives paying off student loans.

 

And finally, I discovered this hard-hitting piece by Laurie at The Frugal Farmer entitled “You Don’t Know Jack (And Neither Do I)” which sums up a lot of my own feelings about the “poor me” attitude and the sense of entitlement which seem so prevalent these days.

I can’t put it in better words than Laurie herself:

“Stop feeling sorry for yourself, stop wallowing in self-focus and arrogance, and start seeing your life for what it truly is: blessed. And never forget that, compared to the rest of the world, you’ve got it pretty damn good.”

Have a great week.

Myles Money

Myles writes about money management, debt control, student loans and financial literacy for teens, 20s and beyond. He is also a regular contributor to RealVision TV, where he discusses economic and money-related issues affecting the millennial generation.

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