Elena Zee, CEO

We have so many choices available to us in the United States that it is imperative that we learn how to make wise financial decisions because each decision has an economic opportunity cost. It is good to learn to be aware of and practice the critical thinking skill of comparing choices and the trade-off (opportunity cost) that comes with each choice. Families can help their children and grandchildren practice making opportunity cost decisions when they shop or when money gifts are given. Helping them verbalize choices along with the pros and cons of each choice is a great teachable moment and can even be fun!

In 2019, Arizona passed a law requiring that personal finance be taught as part of the graduation requirement from high school. The critical thinking skills taught around wise financial decisions help students think first about what kind of life they want to live and then what is required to achieve that. Incentives and the power of intentions are also addressed to help students move from awareness to action. Now Kimberly Yee, Arizona’s State Treasurer, has also appointed a Financial Literacy Task Force to continue the state’s efforts to educate its citizens throughout the lifecycle.

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Lupe Camargo, MBA

Marketing tactics for products and services are designed to draw upon our emotions so that decisions are made quicker, with less thought or analysis. So they are not necessarily wiser, better-for-you decisions. Our brain is naturally wired to make fast, easy decisions a majority of the time, originally for survival purposes. Understanding that helps us realize why we do some of the things we do. We may even identify some of the money scripts we have playing in our heads (often from childhood).

We can break bad habits or replace them with good habits by first understanding our behavior and then changing our environment to make better habits more likely. Having a tribe of like-minded, supportive people and/or a coach can be very helpful. Identifying a list of habits you currently have, both the positive and the negative ones, may be a good place to start so we can narrow it down to small changes that need to be made. Bit by bit, we can successfully change…just remember it takes time so be patient!

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