Guest blog by: Arnav Talwani
Many people will tell you how to spend your money, but very few will tell you how to save it. Growing up, that was something that I heard too often from the elders of my community, and, to be honest, they were right.
To clarify, no one will ever advise you directly on what purchases to make; at the very least, not the average passerby. However, every decision that person makes communicates how you should (or shouldn’t) be spending your money. Their clothing, their choice of coffee shop, their car are all subconsciously informing you what’s trending, and thus, what you should be buying.
In a pandemic world, this phenomenon has become more prevalent because of our increased proximity to the Internet and social media, where many of us have been spending our time. In the digital world, we are constantly surrounded by celebrities and social media influencers whose sole jobs are to, well, influence our purchasing decisions. Whether it’s Lil Uzi Vert implanting an Elliante diamond in his forehead or your favourite YouTuber telling you for the billionth time to buy yourself a yearly subscription of NordVPN, the impact of these influencers is unescapable.
The point is not to cease all of your shopping and hoard your money in a Swiss bank account. This urge to buy what’s cool and fit in is only natural: it’s been proven time and time again that we humans thrive on social connection. What better way to connect with the rest of the world than to buy the products that everyone else is using? Spending does have other positive impacts: it’s what drives our economy!
But, the unfortunate truth is that you’ve likely already blown all your CERB money on a stockpile of half-sleeved hoodies, oversized t-shirts, or those corset things that have trending on TikTok lately. While everyone may be getting two jabs of the COVID-19 vaccine in their arms, not everyone will be getting a job so fast in a post-pandemic world.
This is especially true for youth (myself included), who are incredibly susceptible to impulse purchases, yet likely don’t have enough work experience to land a reliable source of income when Canada fully re-opens. It’s not ideal that our role models are usually not the type to save their money, further straying us away from important financial life lessons.
In a reality where the rate at which we earn money does not immediately match up to the rate at which we spend money, the value of financial literacy becomes immediately apparent. Budgeting and investing, which form the foundation of basic financial literacy, are our saving graces. Not only to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, but ensure that we are prepared for any future economic crises that may come our way.
I was lucky enough to have involved myself in the business world enough to be able to learn about financial literacy before COVID-19.
I suggest that every single young person in this country, in this world, do the same.