Why 20-Somethings Hate Personal Finance

“I know that I should start saving money but the idea of looking at my bank account stresses me out.”

Does this sound familiar?

I’ve heard from many readers who simply hate the idea of personal finance.

Why millennials hate personal finance

I’ve started to realize that many people in general simply hate learning about personal finance. But 20-somethings and millennials especially hate learning and talking about personal finance.

The two most common reasons millennials hate learning about money or researching it, is because they’re ashamed to admit they’re not good with money and because money management is terribly boring for most young professionals.

Everyone would ideally love to be good with managing their money. We would all like to save a significant portion of our income, travel a few times a year, plan for retirement, and save up for a down payment.

The problem is figuring out how to become good at managing money. It’s like learning about how to lose weight or getting huge in the weight room. It’s exciting at first. Then you start thinking about all of the boring food that you will have to eat on top of the hours of work. Then you realize that it takes time to see results. So you give up.

Let’s dig a little deeper.

Why do millennials hate learning about personal finance/money management?

Many personal finance information sessions/products are a scam.

You get told that you have to invest in yourself. Then you get sold on some product that will change your life!

We all know the drill and we’ve all seen the late night infomercials. All you have to do is attend a $50 seminar and you will learn how to turn ten bucks into $200,000.

Sign up right away. This offer expires.

How can anyone care about personal finance information when a majority of it seems like a big scam? This is where I completely sympathize with those that hate learning about personal finance/money management.

There are far too many scams and get rich quick schemes out there in the world. Millennials are naturally skeptical of getting conned out of their hard earned money.

Money management talk makes people feel bad/awkward.

When I hear religious people speak about their beliefs I feel bad for not being such a firm believer. When I hear athletes speak about their intense training I feel bad for not being as dedicated to working out. This is the same feeling that people in credit card debt feel when speaking with “personal finance experts.”

People feel horrible when they realize how they’ve been mishandling their money for many years and a feeling of shame hits them. Unfortunately, this feeling of shame is usually followed by some sort of retreat. It’s much easier to avoid the topic of money management then it is to dwell on personal finance issues.

Many millennials are eager to share every aspect of their lives (from their dating life to what they ate), but are simply nervous about discussing money. Money talk still makes people uncomfortable for obvious reasons.

Personal finance information is usually expensive.

When someone is in debt they really don’t want to spend any additional money.

It took me forever to buy a book on personal finance because I had to convince myself that it was worth spending the money.

Unfortunately, books are usually the lowest priced piece of personal finance information. Most of these seminars and “get rich quick” tutorials/tool kits cost a couple of hundred dollars. If you’re in debt then all these BS “personal finance” products will do is put you further into debt.

When you’re new to saving money you also can’t afford to hire a financial advisor or to start making big investments. You just want to figure out how to survive the weekend without going broke.

The way the college system is setup for learning.

I’ve taken many valuable courses in college that I simply crammed for at the last minute. Instead of truly absorbing the material I just crammed it into my mind at the last minute.

Why? Because that’s how most college students operate. All we think about is completing our degree and then moving on with life. If you truly seek value for each and every one of your courses then I’m jealous because I just care about the credits for the most part.

Another negative is that most college students suck at personal finance. This could likely result in a poor grade. Instead of applying the course material, most college students will only remember the poor grade and curse the concept of personal finance/learning about money management as they get older.

Long story short: not everyone learns best under the college system.

There are too many lectures from “experts.”

The personal finance world is filled with lectures and long lists of things that we can’t do.

You can’t:

  • Drink coffee.
  • Eat avocado toast.
  • Go out with friends.

Who wants to follow this type of advice? Nobody. Millennials hate to be lectured.

Those are the top reasons for why millennials don’t enjoy money talk.

3 thoughts on “Why 20-Somethings Hate Personal Finance”

  1. The idea of the power of compounding is what did it for me, so I tell my peers about that. That said, more people our age are going to be more interested in earning more money than saving (as Ramit@iwtytbr shouts about all too well!).

    From my perspective most personal finance stuff out there is very America-centric, giving me the impression that US culture is more focused on material goods and striving to be the best/live the American dream etc. Also the investing culture in American society seems huge compared with the UK.

    I love reading the American stuff but I know for a fact that my peers (early 20 something UK kids) think I’m weird! My solution is to set up a blog to make it more relevant as I can’t for the life of me find a place on the internet that explains investing to my age group in a way that I think is acceptable and relevant.

    Keep up the great work on the site btw: I was reading about this stuff in college but you have created something special here.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words Adam!

      This week I will be touching upon earning more money in detail. I have a case study planned for Wednesday on a friend that started a tutoring side gig without spending a penny on promotions.

      Also, for what it’s worth- I’m based in Canada. I can relate to you. Being a non-U.S citizen makes some of the financial information out there simply irrelevant or not applicable.

  2. I think a lot of people our age think personal finance is an “all or nothing” endeavor. We read that we need a 401k, six types of savings accounts, IRAs, Roth IRAs, blah, blah, blah….. and just figure its too complicated to try and figure out.

    Like you said, I think shame and feelings of stupidity fuel this mentality. We as an age group need to remember that, just like we work out even though we’ll never be Olympians, small good choices still make a difference.

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