How Age Changes the Way We Think About Money

By  //  June 16, 2022

We all know that age affects our thinking and behavior in lots of different ways. Our goals change, our values change, and how we perceive the meaning of life can change too. With each passing year, we narrow down our focus and take one step closer to creating the lifestyle that we want.

We learn more about how the world works and we realize how our perception of specific things, like money, can alter our reality. Let’s take a closer look into some of the ways that the progression of age can alter the way we perceive and use money. 

Perception

Generally speaking, young people don’t value money the way older adults do. Those in their teens and 20s are more likely to value experiences over material possessions. They’d choose travel over buying a home and the overall consensus would be that money isn’t everything. This doesn’t mean that younger people don’t care about money or that they’re not willing to work hard for it; it just means that they have a different perspective on what’s important.

Money Management

As we age, our money management skills tend to get a lot better. In your 30s, your spending habits will become much more conservative and impulse buying won’t be such a big problem anymore. You might consider one of the best ways to spend spare money to be an additional contribution to an IRA rather than a concert.

With bills to pay, the consequences of your actions will be more hard-hitting, and you’ll have realized the importance of having a rainy-day fund. Chances are that you’ll now have more responsibilities with children to look after too. You’ll be forced into learning how to budget and, with the rising cost of living, looking for ways to reduce your monthly expenses will become the norm. 

Debt

Age can play a major role in how much debt we are willing to take on. Younger people may be more likely to take on more debt because they have time to pay it off, while older people may avoid taking on that burden. Let’s take a 19-year-old student who is looking to get a degree. They’d first look into scholarships for college and the benefits that they bring.

If the scholarship doesn’t cover all tuition fees, he/she might take out a student loan to cover living expenses and the rest of the fee. In contrast, a 40-year-old that wants to return to college as an adult learner may not be willing to take on substantial debt to get a degree. They may solely rely on scholarships, their savings and government funding. 

Retirement Funds

Retirement is an important life event. It’s when we’ll get to really switch off from work and enjoy the things we love most in life. As we get older, our thoughts on retirement and the finances we’ll need during that time will change. Your focus will shift from the wonderful things you’re going to do to how you’re going to pay for everything.

Based on your finances, at what age can you retire? Will your health affect the plans that you have? Are you making contributions to a retirement plan? These are the questions you’ll ask yourself as you move from your 30s into your 40s and beyond.