I’M NOT MUCH OF a bartender. But when my wife and I hosted an art show in Missoula for a friend, I got the chance to serve wine while meeting a whole new group of people. Bankers—my usual social circle—tend to be strait-laced analytical types, so it was entertaining to spend an evening meeting creative folks from our thriving arts community.
One young couple, who sported an array of tattoos and piercings, had a story that caught my attention. I’ll call them Louise and Leonardo. They had recently moved to Missoula from Asheville, North Carolina, another cool mountain town with a lot of similarities to Missoula.
Not too far into the conversation, it became apparent that they’d moved to Montana on a whim, didn’t have jobs, had little money and held to a philosophy that emphasized living in the moment. The concept of deferred gratification wasn’t part of their thinking. They believed that they had many years ahead of them when they could work, but right now they wanted to pursue their passion for travel and new experiences.
Do you have a Leonardo or Louise in your life? I don’t want to minimize the challenges of discussing bourgeois values with 20-somethings infatuated with the pursuit of their passion at all costs. Are there ways to pass along financial advice without crushing their dreams of a life full of meaning and purpose? Here are my four suggestions:
Face-aging apps can help open up a discussion with the Leonardos and Louises of the world—and do so in a fun way. When we’re young, it’s easy to find just about everything interesting and think that’s your life’s passion. But in truth, it can take years to discover what you’re truly passionate about. At that juncture, you’ll want to be in a financial position to do what you love. Perhaps using an aging app can help spark a discussion about purpose later in life and the wisdom of doing a little financial preparation today.
Joe Kesler is the author of Smart Money with Purpose and the founder of a website with the same name, which is where a version of this article first appeared. He spent 40 years in community banking, assisting small businesses and consumers. Joe served as chief executive of banks in Illinois and Montana. He currently lives with his wife in Missoula, Montana, spending his time writing on personal finance, serving on two bank boards and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. Joe’s previous articles include Prepare for Pain, Doing Good and True Wealth.