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Childish financial decisions

Myles seems to be making bad decisions on nearly every aspect of his personal finances: income, debt, spending, saving and paying taxes.

His income has dropped considerably after he gave up a lucrative job in Pennsylvania. Myles claims his monthly income working in the home construction industry was between $10,000 to $12,000 a month. His friend convinced him to move to Austin to work on a new project that never materialized. Meanwhile, he depleted his $30,000 emergency savings fund.

Now, Myles earns roughly $3,500 a month as a field auditor for financial institutions.

Unfortunately, he picked up some bad spending habits while he was a high-earner. He admits he didn’t have a robust strategy for tackling taxes because he always had excess capital and spent up to $9,000 a month on traveling and partying.

Myles has struggled to shake some of these habits despite a dip in income. Hammer estimates that approximately 30% to 35% of his monthly budget could be better spent. Meanwhile, he owes $5,245 on a credit card at an interest rate of 30%.

To make matters worse, he refuses to work more than 15 hours a week and spends six hours a day training in Jiu Jitsu, which he describes as, “Almost an addiction at this point.”

Hammer was shocked by these inexplicable financial decisions.

“What are you?! You're not a baby! What are you doing?!” he exclaimed. “You're building up debt. It's not working!”

Thankfully, by the end of the episode, Myles appeared amenable to working more hours.

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Financial literacy crisis

Financial illiteracy cost Americans an estimated average of $1,506 in 2023, according to a survey conducted by the National Financial Educators Council. Around 61% reported losses of $500 or more, while 22% said they lost $2,500 or more due to gaps in financial knowledge.

This lack of financial knowledge comes at a time when the economy is increasingly stressful. Interest rates and the cost of living remain elevated. Older Americans may have some savings but younger ones, such as Myles, are sinking into debt.

Gen Z saw their credit card balances surge 62% between March 2022 and February 2024, according to Fortune, citing data provided by Credit Karma.

Fortunately, there is some hope that this crisis is abating. Around 30% of Gen Z Americans surveyed by Ramsey Solutions in 2022 said they had taken a financial literacy course, higher than any other generation in the survey. Meanwhile, 48% of young Americans say social media has motivated them to adopt better financial habits by partaking in trends such as “loud budgeting” and “no-buy years” according to Credit Karma.

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About the Author

Vishesh Raisinghani

Vishesh Raisinghani

Freelance Writer

Vishesh Raisinghani is a freelance contributor at MoneyWise. He has been writing about financial markets and economics since 2014 - having covered family offices, private equity, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and tech stocks over that period. His work has appeared in Seeking Alpha, Motley Fool Canada, Motley Fool UK, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Post, Financial Post, and Yahoo Canada.

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