iY Generation and Financial Implications

A while back, I watched my two year old niece Alena swipe her finger and tap the i-pad to engage in the digital version of the “wheels on the bus” that her father had recorded in an endearing, yet silly voice.  It hit me anew, the world had changed – big time!

Dr. Tim Elmore is a leading authority on how to understand the next generation and prepare tomorrow’s leaders today.  Generation “iY” is made up of 80 million kids and young adults born since 1990. He speaks to the firsts that we see this prodigious group experiencing:

-They don’t need adults to get information.

– This group has a ton of content without context.

-They have the stimuli at their fingertips 24/7

-They have constant social contact, but often feel isolated

-They will learn more from a portable device than from a classroom.

-The adults in their lives have enabled them to be narcissistic.


From what Dr. Elmore has unpacked, we can ascertain that this new world has huge ramifications in how our children and grandchildren are learning about finances and how to have a healthy relationship with money.  How can we guide them through this new environment that we ourselves are unsure of the topography, gaining our own footing as we look at what lies around the bend?

With the constant need for speed and immediate gratification, let’s reconnect with the fact that slow can be wise.  We need to set an example of saving for an item, a trip, a special event instead of pulling out the credit card.  We need to say “no, we are not going to buy that today, we are choosing to save up for it”.  When we are faced with the latest greatest “get rich quick” scheme, let’s remember deliberate and steady wins the long endurance races.

When convenience reigns as king and we feel our lives should be “easy”, let’s rediscover the inherent values found in “hard”.  Let’s question our perceived needs, and look at what it might look like to do without.  We need to make mindful, intentional decisions about why we are making a purchase or how we are using our financial resources.  Will we find contentment?  Will we rediscover cooperation and deepen the meaning of community?  Might we have to rely on each other and something outside of ourselves instead of throwing money at it?

When we feel like we constantly need to be entertained, an app at our fingertips, Facebook in our faces, stocks to be traded, another event to attend, let’s be OK with boring for a bit.  Boring gives birth to creativity and connection.  Be still, look around, reconnect.  We are blessed to live in a great place to do it!  We don’t need to be doing something every moment that usually has careless financial implications.

When we find ourselves protecting our kids from financial lessons, let’s allow them take risks and understand that failure is an opportunity to learn and grow.  Encourage them to start a business, earn some money. Let them make mistakes early with purchasing decisions.  What did you learn from that?  What would you do differently next time?  Does that make you feel as good as you thought it would?  Serve as a guide and help them interpret their experience.  Instead of paying off their credit cards, fixing their financial mistakes, or continuing the cash flow past an appropriate time,  let them experience some growing pains.  How can we move from a protect mode to educate and prepare them to become productive, creative, interdependent, self-esteemed, fiscally responsible adults?

We need to look at our own attitudes, behaviors and actions in this new world as we walk alongside our youth and young adults.  Let’s create new ways to engage and connect – face to face, side by side.  Interpretation of the onslaught of information coming at us from every direction is imperative.  Are we equipping them to properly handle the choices they need to make on a daily basis?  We need to be resolute in living in this ever changing world and all of its financial corollaries. Whether it is my 21 year old daughter, or my now 4 year old niece, I know I have my work cut out for me!

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