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Why teens may choose to save money in the social network

Only having the ‘saving’ question will not be enough.. however, by starting with this discussion, the opportunity to discuss purpose will result and so much more.”  - Marie Hall, founder of BeMoneySmartUSA financial ilteracy & youth employment center

Last February in the University of Michigan News, reported on a study conducted by Monitoring The Future, a research group that studies trends impacting the future, which found that the earning and spending habits of teenagers has not really changed over the past three decades. They are mostly spending money on discretionary things, while making contributions for their future (college or savings), and to the family rank lower.

Marie Hall, founder of BeMoneySmartUSA, a Carmichael non-profit dedicated to teaching youth financial literacy and business life skills, knows intimately how youth may perceive their relationship with money. “There really isn’t any correlation between youth savings habits and the condition of our economy. It has everything to do with habits,” she said. “The students who have the habit to study and complete homework on time will be the same way when it comes to saving if they are introduced to the concept early in their life.”

And there is no doubt that texting and social media can introduce a significant dynamic impacting the formation of daily habits, and potentially inspire impulsiveness and diminish capacity for delayed gratification – which we may understand is a central cognitive feature to embrace the concept of saving for long term benefits like paying for college or retirement.

According to Sachin Maharaj, MA at Toronto University and Assistant curriculum leader at Toronto District School Board, cyber connectivity can impact a child’s ability to develop capacity for delayed gratification. In a recent column in The Star, he concludes that internet connectivity unchecked impacts the education of youth by making it “less likely to want to experience things that take long periods of time or that do not provide instant gratification.”

Hall encourages parents to help their children find a sense of purpose for earning and spending money. “All of us have an innate desire to find the balance in lives, to grow and move forward with purpose. Not everyone can easily define that need for themselves in words, but it is as universal as our human need to eat and love,” she said. “Young people purchase things to fill a void, they get involved in things not always good for them, again to fill a void. The void is the same one we all have, the need to feel purpose and have personal success in our lives, friendships and relationships. Only having the ‘saving’ question will not be enough..However, by starting with this discussion the opportunity to talk about purpose will result and so much more.”

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