On the Value of Money
Marianna L. 18 yo, Athens, Greece// It is widely known that during the last decade, Greece has faced some serious economic issues.
On one hand, the biggest part of Greek citizens live under the average living standard and barely survive.
On the other hand, there are some people who have an unexpected economic convenience.
These patterns provoke different reactions in teens; it is observed that some are conscious of the economic crisis and the right management of money while others spend irresponsibly.
Regarding the situation in Greece, it is impossible for any teen to be economically independent.
First of all, people under the ages of 18-19 don’t usually work, because most of the students are preparing for national exams in order to study at a university. The good part is that universities in Greece are free of charge, however students may appear in a different town for their studies, if they are not able to obtain the required grade for the university of their preference. Living in a different place increases the expenses and pressures Greek families face. In this case, students are trying hard to pass the exams and stay in their place of living, with consequences of not working and being independent. There is also a part of Greek students-usually those who live in provinces or islands- who don’t care to study at a university and work during their summer vacation on touristic cafeterias, restaurants, bars and hotels. If it is necessary, they work two jobs and help with the family expenses.
Moreover, some students who finally stay in their hometown and have economic ease don’t work until the graduation from university. Some of them stay completely dependent on their families and a small part of them can’t manage money. They are not responsible enough to spend money with consciousness, money that others work hard to obtain. It is observed that these people spend money on useless and expensive things for which they can boast about, like the new iPhone or famous brands of clothing and jewelry. However, a small part of them understand when they should spend and when not, because the attention to saving and managing their money well is established to Greek families as a result of the economic crisis. They save money for things they need and spend not as much money on little things, because saving (like a coffee you can make at home or not eating outside) matters a lot when you don’t have the economic convenience.
Finally, the biggest part of Greek teens usually spend all the money that they are given, trying to entertain themselves, because they are mainly deprived of outings, devices that they need like a phone, or things that they want, like some new clothes. Saving is not often possible.
Some other people at the age of 18 get to live alone in a different town and have the help of their family and start to work in combination with their studies to cope with expenses such as the rent of an apartment and the household bills. In case of economic problems in the family, the student doesn’t go to the town where the university is and accounts for studies in their hometown.
But studies are not the main problem, but rather unemployment. It’s common that young people don’t find jobs easily, or the compensation is much lower than the money needed to survive. It is usually necessary to know people who can provide a position to a job. This is why teens feel so uncertain and pessimistic about their futures and their overall relationship with money. However, young people need to find a job as soon as possible to facilitate the economic situation in their family.
Economic consciousness is hardly obtained in Greece and it depends on the security that a family can provide to the teen so that they are able to experiment the value of money by spending and saving, and simultaneously, being given a responsible model of managing money.
In conclusion, I would say that Greek teens are split in two parts. Those who are conscious of spending and saving and those who don’t know how to use money. Both sides face this to the excess, because the economic crisis acts differently on people. The crisis can cause too much stress and finally more saving than spending, or more spending and less saving. It’s important that there is a balance between those two and this can be acquired by finding the right budget and mainly by the necessary changes in the economy of Greece. Unfortunately, some teens can’t be conscious of managing money because of the bad conditions, and awareness is not always enough to make things better. Finally, awareness is important for people in different countries to understand different situations and consequently the value of money, and try for a better future. All in all, I think Greece is a great example to understand the value of money.