It is one of the more regrettable aspects of human nature that people apply blame to innocent associates and things for their own abhorrent behavior. This is not a new phenomenon, as examples of such conduct can be traced back hundreds of years. For example, the renowned phrase ‘money is the root of all evil’ is an adaptation of the bible verse ‘the love of money is the root of all evil’, which is a clear criticism of greed and how it creates deceit and ill judged conduct within society.

However, the contemporary adaptation of this phrase suggests that it is money which stands as the significant factor in all that is wrong with the world, and not the people who handle and abuse it. This is an entirely inaccurate and irresponsible conclusion, as it absolves individuals of their duty to spend and save money responsibly. A simple phrase it may be, but its meaning is a clear indication of the blame culture that exists with regards to personal finance and expenditure.

The Concept of Financial Infidelity

The concept of financial infidelity is a further example, and is the process of one person keeping financial secrets and trends from their life partner. Instances of this behaviour seem to have increased during the global recession, which suggests that people have taken to creating their own individual financial safeguards even within a relationship of marital environment. There may be may potential reasons for this, but these issues are more likely to be the cause of the deceit rather than the presence of money itself.

When it comes to educating children in the ways of responsible spending, there are various accepted methods undertaken by parents. The most common of these is the implementation of an allowance awarded for good behaviour and minor household chores, which usually consists of paying an agreed sum for menial labor tasks. This, alongside the payment of cash sums for good academic grades and effort, represents the current understanding of best practice when it comes to teaching children the value of money.

Given the absence of a compulsory financial teaching program available through High School, this methodology of education is the most common amongst teenagers throughout the US. Though it is widely accepted that giving children a financial reward for chores is a valuable practice, there are variable statistics and expert opinions that suggest it is in fact a potentially unhealthy and divisive activity. This can be assessed through understanding the actual lessons that this type of financial education teaches impressionable youngsters.

The Lessons that US Children are Learning

In order to evaluate the relevance of giving a financial reward for labor, it should be compared to the mechanics of the contemporary job market. This is because the education of children is designed to prepare and equip them for adulthood, and the necessities of work and economic awareness that accompany it. By contrasting the core values of the two, it may be possible to modify the way that parents administer their rewards and re-numeration for task.

As the US and other western economies struggle with the continuing cycle of recession and growth, there is an increasing desire to create a more stable economic environment. This is not only an aspiration of the federal government, but also of the voters and individual members of society, who are more determined than ever to maintain responsible spending and saving trends throughout 2011. This is a promising portent for the year ahead, and suggests that societies are finally heeding the harsh lessons of financial hardship.

However, this particular type of resolution has become a typical reaction to periods of recession, but is often not supported by consistent action once the economy experiences renewed growth. As job creation soars and unemployment falls, financial stability is temporarily stored, encouraging a relaxed comfort amongst individuals who develop a more casual ethos towards saving and spending. There are many potential reasons for this, but an inherent lack of fiscal awareness and training may well be the most pertinent.

The Foundations of Education

The key to any successful teaching is to begin it early enough to influence behavioural trends. This is the accepted logic for all core curriculum subjects, including English, Mathematics and Science, which are all taught to youngsters from the age of 5 and continued as standard throughout the duration of high school. What this practice suggests is that governments and teaching bodies understand that their children are most susceptible to learning during this time, and therefore how important this period is in developing a desired level of conducts.

The paths of economic recovery are often traversed with understandable caution. Although 2011 is promising to continue the positive trends in employment and job creation displayed at the close of 2010, there is still and underlying sense of apprehension amongst consumers and households. With this is mind, it is logical that many citizens and family units within the US are still keen to make financial savings where possible and also secure the best possible value for their hard earned money.

It should not necessarily follow that those in a relationship would be best placed to make financial savings, but the course of union can boast many economic benefits. From the pooling of income and resources to a diverse combination of money making skill sets, a romantic coalition or family unit may well be able to strive towards a shared goal or aspiration. As well as the benefits of boasting a wider strength and range of skills, tax legislation and legal documentation is often designed to support the concept of marriage in the US.

The Financial Truth for Married Couples

There is much consternation about the financial benefits of marriage, and the marriage penalty that was first implemented in 1969 has caused many to believe that marriage or union is conducive only to financial loss. However, the fact remains that even before the government introduced legislation to tackle the effects of the marriage penalty in 2001, there are statistics to suggest that couples were still in a more favorable financial position than those of a single disposition.

In many ways, the period of economic recovery that follows a recession is an often unsure and frustrating time. This is in part due to media coverage and its emphasis on sensationalism, where every single optimistic portent is heralded and perceived as a huge step towards prosperity. This creates an unrealistic expectation amongst society concerning unemployment trends and personal finances, as individuals seek a quick and effective resolution to economic hardship and periods of fiscal difficulty.

The fact remains however that while the are undoubted reasons for economic optimism for the forthcoming year, there is an inherent misunderstanding of financial reporting and the core processes of an economy. This is what causes many individuals to misunderstand the portents and indicators that are presented by media resources, and subsequently develop disappointment and frustration as the economy does not display the rate of growth that is anticipated.

Understanding the Numbers and Economic Cycles

The main issue facing society is the representation and usage of statistics and figures. While it is easy to adopt a piece of numerical data to argue a point or economic trend, it can often be contracting or negated by another piece of information within a related field. As an example, it was proudly proclaimed that unemployment rates in the US dropped by 0.4 percent at the end of 2010, and this figure was indeed reflective of a positive trend. However, this rate was inclusive of individuals who had simply stopped seeking employment or claiming welfare, so the actual number of those who had sourced work was less than initially perceived.

There is an inherently strong bond between members of a family, forged over time and through shared experiences of hardship and triumph. As a family unit evolves, individuals people grow into established roles, from those with a sense of responsibility to their younger siblings to others who assume the mantle of spoilt and protected children. Even as different characters within a family endure disagreements and periods of hostility, these relationships and the roles that individuals play in them continue to strengthen.

However, there are several factors that can influence the well being of a family relationship. Of these, money stands as the single most significant, and conflicts that incorporate finance can often become fiercely contested and hostile. Despite being a solely material entity that has a single purpose as a funding for lifestyle costs, the nature of money has evolved in contemporary society to prove a large contributory factor in disputes and relationship breakdowns. This fact is supported by the increasing number of law suits and civil claims that are cited as involving work colleagues or members of the same family.

Money as a Cause of Conflict and Social Issues

The virtues or otherwise of money have been debated for centuries. To some, money a significant factor in achieving happiness, and enabling individuals and families to live in comfort and security. To others, it is of negligible value, and something which causes personalities to change and the most genuine of friendships to break down. As a way to support this argument, many will argue that it is money and the search for wealth that prompts the vast majority of crime and criminal activity.

Given the recent reports concerning proposed economic prosperity for 2011, it was logical that Barack Obama would cite the literature in his weekly address to the US. He identified the positive trends that have been established in job creation and reduced levels of unemployment, and suggested that these figures herald the beginning of a brighter year ahead for the country. His speech was an exercise in accentuating the positive, and an attempt to capitalize on the growing optimism in US society.

Although these reports suggested a level of economic growth that was underwhelming when compared with economists predictions at the close of 2010, there was still clear progression and improvement in the fiscal circumstances. Unemployment dropped from 9.8 to 9.4 percent throughout the last month of 2010, and although it has been suggested that this is due chiefly to the fact that many stopped looking for work during the festive period, the government is keen to assert that this is a portent of things to come.

The Wider Picture for the Growth of the US Economy

It is widely known that the condition of the US economy in 2012 could well be the deciding factor in Barack Obama’s prospects for a second term in office. It is all too apparent that a large and disproportionate amount of responsibility for the economy falls on the shoulders of the president and his representatives, which is especially concerning given the size and capitalist nature of the country. It is arguable that the responsibility for such a diverse economy should be more equally spread, with businesses and individuals being encouraged to take control of their own financial health and well being.

When the individuals of a country are afflicted by the hardship of a recession, the very suggestion of prosperity and optimism can seem foreign to the concept of logic. As unemployment rises and jobs are cut from the private and public sectors, so too consumer spending power diminishes to create a vicious cycle within the economy. However, there are signs emerging through the gradual recovery that adults in the US have not only taken heed of the financial portents of the recession, but also developed a positive attitude in moving forward in society.

A recent survey of young adults aged between 18 and 34 has revealed that this demographic have learned important financial lessons through the recession, and in fact resolved to save more of their disposable income and through budgeting and reducing their levels of impulse purchases. The published findings also suggest that this generation of citizens have also developed an increased responsibility concerning their debts and burdens, and are motivated to committing more money throughout 2011 to reduce their financial duty appropriately. Aside from the bare statistics, this survey also reveals some key points concerning young adults living in the US.

Adapting to Social Conditions

One of the most significant conclusions that can be drawn from the survey is the malleable and adaptable nature of young adults living in contemporary society. It is a well versed theory of psychology that young adults are more adaptable to the change in social conditions, and also more likely to modify their behavioural trends to a more positive end. This capability to conform to changing environment and conditions is believed to diminish over time, as adults more experienced in life are either too comfortable with their own wisdom or embittered by specific instances of hardship.

Of all the supposed consequences and effects of poverty, crime is one of the most discussed. It is a common perception that people who live beneath the poverty threshold and who are victims of economic hardship are more likely to commit crime, whether for financial game or otherwise. Although various US census statistics would corroborate this to some degree, it is still pertinent to investigate other factors in criminal behaviour such as the types of crime committed and how poverty influences an individual’s personal morality.

What research has shown is that high rates of crime are more prevalent in low income areas of the US, and therefore that states that are subject to the highest rates also populate beneath the poverty threshold. Crime, however, is a broad and diverse subject matter, and understanding the types of crime most common in these areas is crucial to establishing the role that poverty plays in delinquent and illegal conduct.

The Levels of Crime in Deprived Areas

It is important to remember that the US federal definition of poverty differs to its public perception. An individual or family who are beneath the poverty threshold are not necessarily struggling to exist, but are more likely to have their residual income stretched across daily and monthly expenditure. Therefore, someone who is technically living in poverty in the US may actually live a comfortable life, only without many of the contemporary luxuries and features in higher income households.

Given the continued explosion in population figures, there is much discussion concerning birth rates and fertility in the US. With so much conjecture and so many conflicting statistics, it is difficult to separate the facts from pure speculation and create a clear comprehension of the exact situation. The general public perception is that birth rates are rising steadily both in the US and worldwide, and also that teenage pregnancy is an increasing problem and affecting girls of a younger and more vulnerable age group.

While so of this is true, these theories do not portray the wider picture. The birth rate in the US rose from 4.3 million to just under 4.5 million between 2007 and 2008, which reflected the trend of an increasing population that has been prevalent since the early 1990’s. When investigated further and divided into specific demographic groups, it is certainly true that the rate of teenage pregnancies (among young girls aged between 15 and 19) has risen over the last 5 years. However, this is only a small faction of the overall narrative.

Understanding the Statistics

Though the rise has been small and yet significant since 2005, the number has not risen continuously since the late 1980’s. In fact, the rate of teenage pregnancies had been subject to a steady and consistent decline between 1990 and 2005, following a huge increase that had begun since the legalization of abortion in 1973. The statistics already betray many of the common worldwide perceptions concerning teenage pregnancy, and the presumed epidemic of promiscuity that had engulfed western culture.

As the US and other western nations continue their recovery from the global recession, more and more citizens and consumers are looking for ways to save money. This ethos is employed in all areas of existence, from day to day expenditure through to sporadic and luxury spending. However, the core emphasis for frugal living relies on saving through regular and necessary consumer spending, rather than reducing the amount sourced and spent on luxurious items and experiences. Statistics show that all forms of consumer spending have risen between 2000 and 2009, and also that the inflated expenditure far exceeds rises in average income and salary.

For those on a tighter budget, there are many ways to save money on food, drink and other household necessities. Although these processes often involve consumers having to spend more time to find discounts and devise money saving strategies, the end result can be seen at the end of each month. By reducing expenditure, a household can in effect begin to save money and capital for future times of need and hardship. If periods of recession teach society one thing, it should be that when experiencing economic growth and prosperity, each citizen has a duty to spend responsibly and save money for periods of financial regression.

Saving on Weekly Expenditure

The most effective avenue to saving money is on day to day expenditures. By saving money on groceries, drink and household bills, a consumer can create the biggest possible excess in their residual income. With regards to food and drink, many consumers find that shopping online helps to both reduce overall cost and also wastage of unused items. This is because customers are able to peruse a supermarkets website at their leisure and calculate the outgoings throughout the process and even at the checkout stage. This means that they are able to adjust their list as they go along and not only be aware of every cent that they spend, but also make sure that what they purchase is required and necessary.

Statistics released by the Federal Reserve suggested that the level of consumer debt stabilized throughout 2009, amounting to an estimated sum of nearly $2.5 trillion. To help comprehend these figures, this amount equates a consumer of debt of just less than $8,100 for every single individual citizen in the US.

Despite showing signs of steadying, this level of consumer debt is still a sharp increase on the figures reported at the turn of the century. What is interesting is that despite the continuing growth in debt and financial burden, consumer spending continues to rise sharply and out of proportion to inflation.

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