By AI-LEEN LOO HAVE you come across the phrase “No Money, No Honey” before – be it printed boldly on graphic T-shirts or while surfing the Internet? Back then, I remember chuckling to myself thinking how funny the statement was. Heck, it even rhymed! Although I did not spare it another moment’s thought or brain space, five years on, I have to grudgingly acknowledge that eventually, we all need to be financially independent. Complain and procrastinate all you want, but everyone – from your naggy parents to your distant granduncles – knows how important it is to be in control of your own finances as early as possible. Believe me, for I, too, was once a naïve teenager who scoffed when my mom asked me to attend a talk on financial literacy! Even for those of us who are lucky enough to still live on an allowance from our parents, it can do no harm to be as independent as possible when it comes to financial budgeting and management. As a freshman studying abroad in university, I too, recently hopped on the (nearly sinking) boat to learn to take control of my money – because let’s face it, most of us teenagers today are more often than not “broke”. How often do you hear your friend exclaiming, “Oh man, let’s eat at a cheaper place – I’m so broke right now!” Of course, if you care to Google how youths can manage their money, there is plenty of professional advice available, from investing in the stock market to dabbling in entrepreneurship. ]To simplify things, though, a rule of thumb is to just plan your budget well and stick to it. I recently read an economics article that described how 67 countries around the world today are experiencing a “Youth Bulge”, where more than 30% of its population consists of children and young adults. Thus, it is only a matter of time before today’s youth will soon heavily influence and take over the reins of the global economy. Sounds like a far-off dream for now, but we will, eventually, be the ones leading our beloved nation. Be it public funds, a company’s finances or even your own bank account, managing money, at all levels, is a task. So, instead of complaining about how you have a measly allowance or don’t have enough cash to buy that dress on sale, don’t dismiss the thought of learning how to manage your finances – even if you are just a teenager. The writer is a member of the BRATs young journalist programme.

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