In today’s society, there are numerous goods, services, and activities available to our youth and with the desire to have it all, they have neglected to save and plan for the future. Much of today’s youth have parents that work, leaving little time to spend with their kids making friends and extra activities more important. It gives them freedom in their spending habits. Kids love to buy brand-name products, the latest fashions, and newest trends in electronics.
Parents should start by making kids earn money and not just giving it when needed or wanted. They must differentiate between necessity and luxury. Many kids do not have responsibilities at home that earn them an ‘allowance’. Their parents never say no to anything. They don’t feel spoiled and are just like everyone else. These kids are members of a generation that has grown up without knowing anything but prosperity. And as families get smaller, there is more money to go around. Nearly one-third of American teenagers carry cell phones, they eat out with their friends at least once a week, and on average spend $104 per week (Teenage Research Unlimited, 2001). The fact that teens spend this much money makes them a marketer’s dream. Studies during the late ‘90s have shown that this generation is living a life beyond their means.
If these spending habits persist, today’s teenagers may be headed for trouble. Ted Feinberg, assistant director of the National Association of School Psychologists says, “I have seen many young adults who think they can buy happiness. In some cases, I view these people as consumer junkies. They are jumping from this possession to that possession, thinking that is going to buy them inner peace. Just like a narcotic junkie, they are going from high to high, only
it’s a synthetic high. It’s not born of things that are substantive in life. In the end, it is going to leave them feeling hollow.”