A business consultant points to a notable shift in digital education and a worthy area of study.
GUEST COLUMN | by Athan Slotkin
Technology has completely changed the shape of the financial landscape. The majority of financial activity is now carried out digitally on mobile phones and a new investment model has taken shape.
The concept of cryptocurrency has been around for over a decade, but its explosive growth within the past several months means many are just now getting involved.
Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that can be bought and sold like investments and in some cases spent like money. For example, PayPal announced last November it would begin allowing users in the U.S. to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies on its money management platform.
While the boom of cryptocurrency is appealing, it’s also financially and technologically confusing for many. This makes sense as, even before the blockchain ecosystem took the world by storm, personal finance education has been lacking.
Within the U.S., many lack basic financial planning skills and are unable to achieve financial independence and stability. Industry research shows that 2 in 3 families lack any type of emergency savings, 78% of adults live paycheck to paycheck, and 3 in 5 adults do not maintain a monthly budget.
‘An earlier education of financial literacy could produce vastly better outcomes for the lives of many, especially young professionals eager to delve into the current fintech market.’
Additionally, just 17 states mandate or require some sort of financial education course at the high school level. An earlier education of financial literacy could produce vastly better outcomes for the lives of many, especially young professionals eager to delve into the current fintech market.
Education Turned Digital
Much of financial education has turned digital just as the market has (goodbye textbooks!). TikTok is rapidly emerging as a forum for young users keen on learning how to handle their money – #personalfinance videos have been viewed 4.3 billion times on the app.
However, students must not only use these technological resources to seek out information but learn how these tools function as well. Digital services, like social media and streaming entertainment, have the power to drastically influence financial behavior through their messaging, targeted ads, and content. It’s important for young people to look at reputable financial websites and understand which apps will help facilitate proper money management.
In a recent survey from Wells Fargo & Co., forty-five percent of teenagers said they became more interested in investing this year because of the GameStop frenzy that took place back in January. The investment craze was partly driven by a concerted effort on social media, another indication of the digital world re-defining and conceptualizing finances. As the desire to invest rises, there are various factors young people and other beginners of finance should consider when tapping into digital assets.
The market is ethereal and volatile. Cryptocurrencies are not without their drawbacks though and can be risky investments. The values of various coins can quickly soar up or down at any given moment. Investors must be agile with their decisions and remain true to the current assets they possess.
In the case of cryptocurrencies and NFTs, the first place to start is on conceptually understanding what you’re investing in. While it can be exciting that people seem to be ‘getting rich quick’ and some will always get lucky, it’s important to understand the fundamentals behind cryptocurrency.
For example, cryptocurrency was not originally created as a speculative investment mechanism, but rather for decentralization utilizing blockchain technology. Understanding this is fundamental to understanding what you’re putting your money into.
Further, there are thousands of cryptocurrencies and NFTs currently, and there will always be new currencies that evolve. As a result, making sure you have both the correct investments and timing is quite important as well. Since the history of time, over 90% of cryptocurrencies have failed, and it’s projected that over 90% of current NFTs will ‘fail’ looking in the future as well.
All in all, it is important to do as much research as you can, while knowing there is always the possibility for error with any investment.
Technologically Literate, Incredible Opportunity
Cryptocurrencies and NFTs are providing investors of every age with new, more accessible ways to build wealth, regardless of current income status or financial background. These assets are interesting and exciting new financial technology. As younger investors are more technologically literate, it makes sense they are attracted to financial products that have technology as the center.
However, the future of fintech is not completely set in stone.
As with any investment, there is a risk of losing money. Digital assets will rise and fall, come and go. Big tech companies are pivoting into finance, directing billions of users through money management.
Young professionals and students have an incredible opportunity to engage with the market and explore these more complex topics like investing and personal finance. It is, ultimately, user behavior that will determine where the future of the industry goes.
Athan Slotkin is an international business consultant on how young professionals can expand their financial growth opportunities through cryptocurrency. Connect with Athan at https://athanslotkin.com/