My Journey to build Financial Literacy for Young Adults
Helping young adults build a solid financial foundation
My name is Sudhir Sahay. I’m a father of two teenage sons and I’m writing these articles for them and the many young adults their age who are now transitioning to adulthood. I’m also writing this for all the parents who are doing the best they can to equip their kids for a financially successful adult life.
Like many parents, I have spent the last 17+ years of my life helping provide for my family and children. My wife and I have devoted our time to our kids’ education, sports, activities and friendships. Through all these years, we have striven to equip them with the skills necessary to be independent, successful and happy adults who are also good citizens.
Most days when I see and listen to my kids, I feel like we’ve done a good job and am comfortable watching them get ready to leave for college and then adulthood. However, there are some days when I definitely feel the opposite. We recently had such a day when I was talking to my older son about money and budgeting. He was working on a project that his Math teacher had given their class to build out their expected household budgets in the year when they had finished college and had started their first job. My son had pulled together all the different ways that he had to spend money such as rent and insurance as well as where he would want to spend such as entertainment and eating out and wanted to run the numbers he’d pulled together past me. To say the least, I was surprised at the lack of knowledge and unrealistic expectations that my son had on money, starting with his expectations on how much after-tax money he would earn and extending through to where and how he would spend his money. In addition, I was shocked at how he was completely focused on the here and now instead of also thinking about the future – as an immigrant to this country whose family had moved to the US when I was young with very little in terms of resources that mindset was very alien to me.
After he finished his project, I started talking to him about savings and investing money. His definition of investing - which he enthusiastically talked about - was how he’d heard his friends talking about Robinhood and getting on the app to buy Bitcoin and Tesla options. “Daddy, people are becoming millionaires by investing through Robinhood!”. At that point, I decided that I needed to do something to improve my kids’ basic financial literacy with an emphasis on how to realistically save and invest for the future. As I have continued speaking with my kids about this subject, I’ve learned that their friends also have similar views on money so I thought I’d do something which would not only benefit my kids but also their wider age cohort. That is why I have started this series of articles – I hope that sharing my journey will provide insights and practical advice to those of you who are embarking on similar journeys, whether as a young adult transitioning to full adulthood or a parent with a soon to be adult.
As part of sharing my journey, I plan on writing and uploading a post every 1-2 weeks. Thank you for joining me on this journey. I sincerely hope you enjoy it and learn something from it.
If you have any comments or feedback on how to make it more useful and valuable, please let me know. Please also look forward to the first installment of my journey which will be focused on the tradeoffs between consuming today and saving and how that has made funding my kids’ college less painful for them than many of their peers.