Why Future Job Skills are a Key Aspect of Financial Education

By John Waggoner

July 18, 2018

Understand jobs of the future

Young people may think about finance as investing in gold coins, mutual funds or crypto currencies. But the best investment you can encourage them to make is in their careers: Over time, most of their wealth will come from where and how they work.

This is one aspect of financial literacy that often goes begging. Understanding how to manage your money has little value if you don’t have the skills to keep a job. Exploring future job skills should be part of any well-rounded financial education program.

Breathless stories about investors who made a fortune investing in Amazon or Netflix rarely mention the role of sheer luck in spectacular investment successes. For every high-flying stock like Amazon there’s a dud like Pets.com, the internet startup that Wall Street sent to live with a nice farm family in 2000.

Even those who succeed at investing the old-fashioned way—saving prudently and investing regularly in retirement plans—have as their basis an increasing stream of wages over a lifetime. Ultimately, how much you have in your investment accounts depends on how much you put in.

What does an investment in your career look like, aside from simply trying to learn and master new skills?

Automation isn’t necessarily your enemy Just 47% of CEOs say they don’t know how automation will improve their customers’ experience, and 73% think that technology will never replace the human mind, according to the PwC reportWorkforce of the Future. Automation will make many daily tasks easier for employees, says Joe Davis, global chief economist at Vanguard, the nation’s largest mutual fund company. He argues that automation will build better jobs by reducing some of the mind-numbing tasks workers face today, such as assembling products, inspecting goods and processing information.

Digital competence is your friend Technology changes quickly and keeping up with it is one of your best personal investment strategies. A PwC Global survey found that 73% of workers are willing to learn new skills to remain employable in the future, and 67% of CEOs said that they have a responsibility to retrain employees whose jobs are automated.

You don’t have to be a coder to succeed The future workplace will offer ample opportunities for those with…

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…excellent people skills, particularly in a period when automation is on the rise. Customers always value the personal touch. And if your career goal is to save the world you’ll have plenty of opportunities there, too, by working in green energy, researching climate change and engineering projects to offset the effects of rising sea levels.

Big companies will always appreciate top talent It’s unlikely that we are going to become a world of small shopkeepers: Sheer size is a big advantage in the corporate world, as Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, could tell you. But employees will still need top skills to rise to the top in the increasingly top-heavy business world.

Predictions, as Yogi Berra reminded us, are difficult, particularly when they are about the future. Thanks to breakthroughs in medicine, the next generation might have to work longer to account for longer lifespans.

Someone could figure out a way to reduce or eliminate excess carbon in the atmosphere. We could even figure out how to grow potatoes on Mars. No matter what happens, however, students will need to view their careers as their biggest and most important investment.

For more on future job skills:

How Robots Show Us The Workplace Skills We Will Need, Yet Foolishly Resist

3 Ways to Boost a Young Person’s Financial Understanding

Why Your Gamer in the Basement Might Get a Great Job

You Will Find a Job You Love, Maybe Just Not Right Away


Posted in Youth on July, 2018