Nairobi News

BlogThe Millennial

Most millennial are money-illiterate and it’s not our fault

I’m a millennial. I was born at a point of human history characterized by trail-blazing technological advancement leading to material abundance, at least as far as food, school and things are concerned.

School for us was literally a Basic Human Right. So were vaccines and lots of other things that just 100 years prior were literally alien.

Sandwiching all those nice things were endless hours of strict instruction in math, science, history, etc. The reasoning at the time was that we needed to know these things for us to be useful members of society. We had other views. We felt it akin to internment or slavery. And were those hours long! 12 years long, to be precise. (Sound familiar?) 12 years of early mornings, long boring lectures and for those of us in the boarding school cohorts, horrible food and personal abuse.

RARE PRACTICAL INFORMATION

However, if one could withstand the physical tedium, as well as the hodgepodge of ngeli, vitenzi and organic chemistry, there was a wealth of theoretical and (rarely) practical information and basic skillsets to be learnt. That’s why most of our black selves in whatever capacity of our current lives at least understand one basic grammatical tenet or the other of the earlier-alien English language (100 years in history is nothing). If it’s not that, some of the chemistry or biology or computer or the other is actively aiding your existence at this point in time.

The most curious omission, however, of the millennial book therapy, is money. How to make it, how to keep it, how to use it. How it works, but most importantly, how to make, keep and use it.

Why do I say curious? Because we were told our schooling would aid our seamless assimilation into society. There is no shortage of articles in print and in light written by dinosaurs using the word ’millennial’ in the most condescending way it can be used. The literature mainly addresses our supposed shortcomings when it comes to winning the cheese in a rat race. Perhaps, in hindsight, there would be fewer of these if someone had the foresight then to teach us a bit more about money.

TEETHING FINANCIAL SYSTEM

This is not to say that all of us have hopeless credit scores or account balances, but come on. The stuff is literally so commonplace in today’s world that the saying goes it makes the world go round! It’s particularly bad in the so-called Third World where our lateness on the stage of this particular play means we’re still technically teething when it comes to the capitalistic financial system.

Student loans and bad financial choices threaten to cripple most of us before we even realize we have legs and I place this blame squarely on the education system we were subject to. It failed to equip all of us with valuable lessons and advice on the basic workings of something that was to define our very existence.

And schools are not the only ones to blame. The domestic side of life bears almost as much culpability, if not more. Home was to a lot of us a seemingly-permanent river of material satisfaction. Behind all the video-games, toys, sweets, clothes, etc that were lavished upon us was a financial transaction of one kind or the other. These things were given to us, in fairness to our custodians, as signs of love!

HOW TO MAKE MONEY

However, as in most love stories, the tragedy was that in failing to show us how to make the money to buy the things ourselves, we find ourselves bamboozled by a world brimming with things waiting to be bought for one reason or another.

Hope is not absent, though. It is easier today than at any other time in human history to rapidly gain knowledge on anything, even if it is money. Money can be quickly and easily learnt just like those tantalising recipes and beauty regimes doing rounds online. And after it has been learnt, it HAS TO BE PASSED ON.

A millennial is generally identified as one born between 1981 and 2001. That means ALL of us have attained biological sexual maturity meaning we will (or already do) have children whom we MUST shield from the evils we perceive. Unless the financial system, as we know it, collapses…who knows?