There’s nothing better than free education, right? That’s one of the many reasons why I love TED talks. Here are some of the ones I’m loving this month that are all about finance.
Alexa discusses the overwhelming lack of education available on managing personal finance (and its implications), despite the majority of the population that says they wish they had some help managing and understanding finance. Individuals make financial choices every day, and the less they understand about finances, the further deeper into debt and bad decisions they can push themselves. Alexa explains the national impact of that lack of personal finance education: we as a nation, have amassed trillions of dollars in consumer debt. She points out that, in many cases, knowledge could have prevented these numbers.
I remember in college, I was required (as were all other majors) to take SEVERAL classes that were not related to my major, classes like Art History, Marriage & Family Sociology, and Intro to Communications, among many others. While I am all for furthering your education and I believe there is a value to any education, even things not related to your major/desired career, I do wonder why whomever is designing the required course list doesn’t consider that statistic that most people say they need help with their finances?
Why are non-art majoring students REQUIRED to learn about the Lascaux cave paintings, but not how to manage their personal finances?
Humans, as you may already know, don’t always make the best financial decisions. In fact, sometimes they make really, really, really dumb financial errors, and they keep making those financial errors, over and over again, with the same negative feedback. In this TED talk, Laurie and her students decided to create a monkey economy to study whether these human psychological biases were because of who we are as a species or if they were a part of the environment we live in. In other words, she and her students wanted to discover where do our money mistakes really come from?
People always say that money can’t buy happiness, but Michael argues that if you think that, you’re just not spending it right. He begins by mentioning an article where CNN actually went out and followed up with people who won the lottery. They discovered that many of the winners had actually experienced a decrease in their quality of life after receiving such a large sum of money. (You can read that article here.) Michael then goes on to discuss how he and his team studied how happiness and money (and to be more specific on money: money spent on yourself vs money spent on others) correlate with one another.
(Without spoiling too much, you should give some of your money away to others if you want to improve your happiness.)
Many, many people start out as hopeful high schoolers, full of dreams of changing the world. But the financial journey through college can be overwhelming for many, many people. So overwhelming that many people cite financial troubles as the reason for dropping out. Navigating student loans and other financial challenges can easily weigh on a student’s psyche and contribute to their stress load. And just how many students can’t make basic financial decisions? Watch this talk for more on statistics like that, and related issues, for millennials and money.
Debt is not a new concept. It’s been around and haunting people for as long as time. But Adam and his family found a way out. As he says, they sold their crap, paid their debt, and did what they love (backpacking in Australia!). Adam explains how he and his family followed that plan and in doing so, found a new way to live.
Sajay begins by discussing the increasing discrepancies between the cost of college now vs several generations ago. Times are changing and yes it is beginning to get more and more difficult to comfortably make it financially. As Sajay explains, average income is lower than it was years ago, yet average household costs are on the rise. But what if there’s a solution? What if we think of higher education as a consumer product you can buy. And consumer debt is profitable. (Just not for you, probably.) And think of diplomas as a brand…
Are you loving TED talks lately too?