I sometimes wonder whether the “what do I want to be when I grow up?” conversations that kids have now are really much changed from a generation or two ago. You’ll still have the aspiring doctors, lawyers, teachers and the like. You’ll also have those dreaming to make it big in the realms of sports and music. Some will always be in it for the glory. But I also think that an increasing number of kids, for whatever reason, are caught up by the allure of the dollar signs. Let's face it, it's not hard to find role models, good and bad, that represent the fame and fortune associated with these fields.
When I was growing up there wasn’t much money to be had in football. At the end of their careers footballers would retire and just open a country pub, not try to buy a football franchise in the US. Rugby and athletics were all about the glory of performing as amateurs, not signing huge contracts with benevolent French rugby clubs or winning gold bars for a successful athletics season. And while there was always something aspirational within the music scene (think: Duran Duran hanging out on a catamaran in their video for ‘Rio’), music was never as graphic in its depiction of the necessity for fast cars, bling and a ‘Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ culture.
But it is what it is and you can't try to hold back the tide just because you're from a different generation. Still, in my eyes there's a clear need to embed strong personal finance principles into the education system from an early age so that kids can establish a healthy relationship with money. Promoting an awareness, as highlighted by recent efforts by the Charles Schwab Foundation to teach basic financial literacy to 13 to 18 year olds, should hopefully be just a first step to future generations becoming more cognizant with handling their personal finances.