By Ja’Net Adams
For many of my speaking engagements, the majority of the audiences range from high-school students to corporate America employees. I recently presented to students and the audience consisted of about 300 students and their families. The presentation focused on money tips and strategies.
I have had a lot of speaking engagements recently and the ones that have involved “adults” – those over 30 or 35 – led to some interesting questions. Some of the questions were a true search for understanding while some people asked questions to justify their way of thinking about a particular money concept.
Most of the questions centered on credit. People can live a life without worrying about a credit card or a credit score. Those who are skeptical that they cannot often feel that way because that is all they have known and all they have been taught. All of the students I have spoken with during my eight years of presenting say they want to live a life not built on credit but on a large bank account.
When I finished the presentation with the students and their families, some of the attendees approached me to confirm what I said on stage. One of them was a 50-ish father of two. He said that after I explained how a credit score is determined that it was the first time it clicked with him that it was a debt score. Another gentleman, likely in his 70s, also approached me.
“You were teaching good up on that stage,” he told me. “You are completely right about our mothers and grandmothers not being able to get credit and that they saved their money. They saved their money and built their own homes, bought their own cars, started their own businesses and much more.”
The last person to come up to me was a foreigner who had just purchased a home in the states. She said that I made her think about her native country and how they don’t have credit or credit scores; they save their money and purchase items with money they have.
Convincing adults is more challenging than convincing students. Young people get it and they get it quickly. Because of that, they will surpass adults in their life when it comes to wealth.
A couple of weeks ago, my 6-year-old daughter joined me for the first time at a speaking engagement at a church women’s conference. For an audience of adults, I would usually omit discussing much about credit, but this time I included it after going back and forth about it. The reason I added it was because of the multiple Bible verses about not being in debt.
When I got home that evening, my daughter showed me notes she had taken during my presentation. What stood out most was that she heard “stay away from credit card.”
When I was a little older than my daughter is now, my mother warned me about credit. I remember watching as she tore up an envelope with a credit card offer, threw it in the trashcan, and told me to never get a credit card. Parents are doing their children a financial disservice when they don’t talk with them about money. Children can learn the basics of money just as well as you can. How do I know? Because even my 6-year-old gets it!