“I just want to be comfortable.”

That’s what I told myself and others when asked about my financial goals and values when I was a teen.  It was a great answer; adults seemed to respond with approving nods.

I look back now and understand two powerful problems of my “comfortable” goal.  First of all, I basically made my dream come true.  I became a teacher, made a modest salary, and exerted only the minimal amount of effort necessary to maintain this lifestyle.  I was comfortable for most of my adult life.  I was comfortable with the amount of financial stress I had.  I was comfortable with my complaint of never having enough money to say ‘Yes’ to exciting trips, educational opportunities, splurges at the mall, and a whole host of other life experiences.  I was comfortable not being able to make significant contributions to causes I really care about.

You know what?  Comfortable isn’t really a life dream.  That’s what no one told me.  “Comfortable” is a word I used, as a habit AND an excuse to avoid dealing with money responsibly, to impress people with my “humility”.  I used it to create my public image.  It was a PR thing!

The second thing I realize now is that the adults in my life didn’t think to sort this out with me.  I dearly WISH, and you might have the same thought, that an adult had talked to me about the difference between my image and real financial goals.

Where would I be today if someone had said, “What kinds of options do you want to have for yourself?  What kinds of opportunities to do you want to have?  What kind of difference do you want to make for causes you care about, over the course of your life?  What kinds of opportunities do you want to be able to provide for your family?”?

THAT is a powerful conversation you could and should have with the teenager in your life. 

© WealthQuest for Teens, Ltd., 2011 All rights reserved worldwide.


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