Monday, June 16, 2008

Death Car for Smoothie: Financial Literacy

This is another post in my Old Coot Series about how all generations after mine are doomed.

A scan of news reports hints at a looming crisis: kids today can’t manage their money. Supposedly, it’s because of those tempting credit card freebie booths at college campuses, student loan debt, and a lack of financial literacy training.

All lies. I too received seductive credit card offers prior to age 18, took out loans to pay for school, and received no financial literacy training in college. And I’m pretty financially brainy, in the sense that I once froze a credit card in a block of ice until it was paid off, and then cut it up. And I was wise enough to pursue a secretarial career, so that I would never be able to buy a condo during a real estate boom. See, I’m smart like that.

The real difference? Kids of my generation watched a lot more educational filmstrips. And they were way scarier than anything the millenials and their tender sensibilities could handle. We watched gory Driver’s Ed classics about drunk drivers beheading themselves in ludicrous ways. I also remember a really awesome sex education film in which two guys in bell-bottomed cords debated where they’d gotten their gonorrhea, all while enjoying a frosty Orange Julius. But, best of all, we watched a film almost every day in eighth grade Civics.

Junior high civics films are better than parents, religion, or any other arbiter of behavior. They’re just that good.

The most important one was about financial literacy. A teenage girl needs to get her brakes repaired. She takes out loans from family members, assembles the cash, and heads to the car repair shop. However, she gets distracted on the way, and decides instead to buy a velvet blazer and a smoothie. Any time you see a smoothie in an educational film, something bad is going to happen. This time, her brakes go out completely, she spills the smoothie on her new jacket, and hurtles through a busy intersection to her death.
So, at the impressionable age of 13, I learned that poor financial planning will lead to ruined clothes and a grisly death. Also, bell bottoms can give you gonorrhea.


Ibid said...

I read those articles long ago, too. The ones that tell you all about crippling debt for being a stupid college student. I'm sure being raised on a farm with practices that allowed the family to survive the Great Depression and Dust Bowl helped.

But when the credit card offers started coming I said no. No, no, no, and no again. I didn't even like having a debit card. Of course, I was in Kansas where they still took checks in most places.

I was 4 years out of college before I got my first credit card. I was wanting to buy a house and needed the credit history. At that point nobody wanted to give me a card. I had no credit history so I couldn't get a card to establish a history so I could get a card, etc. etc. etc.

The Smithsonian got me my first card. A week later everyone wanted to give me one.

Marissa said...

Holy shit. I bought a velvet blazer on Saturday. Alas, I had a margarita and not a smoothie though. Close call, indeed.

Shannon said...

Ibid, I share your neurotic fear of debt. I have zero credit cards, and intend on staying that way for a while.

Marissa...I think the fact you bought a velvet blazer in June is enough to condemn you to a gruesome fate. Sorry.

Gilahi said...

My favorites were the movies in first-year Spanish. They were all about Juan y Maria (apparently the Dick & Jane of the Hispanic set), except that the voice-over guy was loudly overpronouncing each syllable to the point that you began to wonder if maybe HE was a little slow.

HHHHHWan eeeee MaREEEEEa VAN.... a.... la.... TiENNNNNNNda.

Capitol Hill 20210 said...

ah I miss Orange Julius - you are teasing me like the damn Sonic Commercials.

Shannon said...

Gilahi, we would just watch cartoons in Spanish and call it a day.

Zipcode, remember that smoothies lead to disease and death! Stay far away.

lacochran said...

Filmstrips were AWESOME! Especially the one about the sperm and the egg!

Tina said...

Millenials do no understand basic finance because their parents never make them pay for anything themselves - not before college, not during and not even after!!!

I got my first credit card when I was in college - I charged a $60 dollar sweater on it. When the bill came in and I didn't have the cash -not only did my parent's NOT lend me the money. My dad came and picked up my car so I would not be spending cash on gas I should be applying to the bill.

My dad has passed on. My mom pays the car payments, insurance, cell phone bills, credit cards and gas money for my younger brother and sister - 20 years younger mind you. My dad must be rolling in his grave!!

Capitol Hill 20210 said...

Death flows Red on the highway haha - remember that one?

Shannon said...

Lacochran, weirdly, we never watched the egg n' sperm filmstrips in sex ed. Instead, we watched 1970s strips about "social disease." Whatever that is.

Tina, I also don't get the idea of parents paying the bills after graduation. A little help or a free meal here or there, but it shouldn't be a sustained thing.

Zipcode, one of the greatest regrets of my youth is that I never saw the classic Blood on the Highway.

Michael said...

Hey, you're wrong. I never got gonorrhea from bell bottoms!

Shannon said...

Michael, I can't tell whether you're copping to wearing bell bottoms or having the clap...and I really don't know which would be worse.

Michael said...

Neither one, my darling!