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The problem with personal finance

There is a fundamental problem with personal finance that will forever limit its potential to interest our culture. PF is dorky, or at least that’s how most see it. Try walking up to that girl you have a crush on and tell her she’s got nice assets and see what happens. My guess is things wont work out in your favor.

Few people wake up every morning, excited to check their savings account balance. Or see how their Individual Retirement Accounts are performing. Or calculate how much of their credit card payment is going to interest instead of principle. Moral of the story mi amigos, finances aren’t sexy…yet.

Fortunately, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. PF is making a comeback. Well not exactly, but the crappy economy has definitely helped spark some interest. Did you know the Dave Ramsey show is currently the 8th most popular radio show in the US? Regardless of how you feel about Dave’s teachings, it’s at least encouraging to know people are taking interest in getting some financial education.

Heck even the celebrities are doing their part to teach us a thing or two about money. Take for example Nicolas Cage. According to Forbes magazine, his income from July 08 to July 09 was $40 million. Cage can teach us all a fundamental financial principle, it’s not what you make, it’s what you spend. Even though Cage’s income is exceptionally high, he’s got over $9 million in bad debts and is facing bankruptcy. Thanks Nick for taking the time to teach us we can’t live outside of our means 🙂

While personal finance may not be the most titillating subject out there. I believe we (the financially less stupid) have a responsibility to make personal finance less boring. We have to come up with silly blog names to attract the younger crowd. We have to make ridiculous rap songs about our financial journeys. We have to draw silly cartoons that have nothing to do with finance. Basically, we have to repackage the boring personal finance we all know and dress it up, put it in a pair of high heels, some low rise jeans, and an Ed Hardy t-shirt. We have to make it attractive!

What ways have you discovered that make PF less boring? How do you get people interested in their money? If Jay-Z rapped about retirement, do you think the 20-something would jump on board?

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  1. couldnt agree with you more, its definitely not a sexy subject and most young adults frnakyl dont care as long as mom and dad are paying everythign through college. i am trying to do my part at work, i volunteer at local high schools doing presentations on how to use credit responsibly. the feedback so far has been great, and i really do hope that i make a difference in these kids so they dont end up in debt exiting college.

    Preferred Financial Services

  2. Ninja,

    You are apart of that attractiveness. You do a great job of making it interesting and exciting. You tie PF into your practical life and people can relate to that.

  3. young people will always do what Jay z tells them to do; even if it is killing pupies. So i think that he should definitely rap about retirement and all that stuff but, but i dont think he will

  4. I think people don’t care because it doesn’t relate to them yet. I dare you to find someone that doesn’t want to make more money, to have more money. Ok, so you found the Buddhist Monk. How about someone else? Yeah, didn’t think so. A lot of people associate personal finance with retirement, but there is also the sexy side which is investing. I haven’t been the best at selling it, but I do love the look of awe when people here how much of my paycheck I can save. My BF has actually been really good about it and he got his friends to join an online trading competition and now two of them are actually trading. It is one small step, but I do think if you can make it relate to someone on a small level, then in no time, they’ll want to know the whole gambit. And THAT’s when we talk about 401 to the Kizzays…

  5. We can’t all have blog names as cool as yours, sorry. LOL 🙂

    I find that my personal financial stories get way more readers than boring financial facts, so I try to incorporate as much personal stuff as possible. Maybe pf would be sexier when people realize that reduced financial stress can help their love life? Just a thought…

  6. Like this site, Budgeting in the fun Stuff recommended it to me. (Thanks BFS)

    One thing I have found is that some people love to talk about how they don’t have enough money, but they don’t necessarily want to do to the work it takes to either get more money or pay off debt. It is the spouse’s fault, or the kids need something, the reasons are endless.

    The one way I make it sexy it to talk until I am blue in the face on deaf ears. Blue is the new red, very sexy. (Me in low-rise jeans would be much less sexy.) But seriously, I wish I knew. Some people are so set in their habits that they have to really be willing to change to truly listen.

    One thing I have done for some people is break it down into such small fragments that putting away that little bit extra wouldn’t be as painful. For instance, I was begging for money for the school my kids go to from fellow parents. (Sweet Phone-A-Thon). One person said they just couldn’t do it. I said we needed so little from each person, that it was the participation that mattered so we could get grants from corps. (If the parents don’t care, why should the corporations?) So I told them to just pledge 20 dollars and to use the money they get from returnable bottles to fund it. Then they jumped right on the bandwagon. But some people are so overwhelmed by their situation that the first response seems to be ‘no, it can’t be done’. Instead, I have found if I can show some small things they can try and find success, that I can gradually broach the bigger issues. Obviously this is in conversation, not in blog.

    Sorry I went on so long. What a loser, typing all this on a Friday night.

  7. I work with a lot of young people and trust me, money is on their mind and they want to learn. However, most of them have parents who have poor money management habits and/or don’t really discuss finance with their kids. I remember being that age, being totally clueless about investment, savings, interest, etc., and not knowing where to go for some knowledge.

    I’m not aiming to educate anyone but I found that the more I talk about finance, the more they feel comfortable asking me questions.

    “I like your bag! Is it (insert expensive brand).”
    “Yeah, I bought it over the weekend. I’ve always wanted one so I’ve been setting aside some money every month.”
    “I wish I had spare money to save.”
    “Well, I just (insert easy money saving thing move like not going to Starbucks) and put that money in a high interest yielding savings account. I was surprised how quickly I could save up.”
    “A high yield what now?”

    “Hey, how’re you doing?”
    “Awesome! I just checked my account statement and the ROI for my 401(k) this past quarter was 44%!!!”
    “I invested some money for retirement and I made a lot of money.”
    “So how does the whole 401(k) thing work? I always see the poster in the break room about company matching but I have no idea what it means.”

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