Teen Reminisces About First Debit Card and Magical Money Memories!
Looking back during this time of a global pandemic, the past seems to hold the fruits of happiness, enthusiasm, and positive emotion. I am recalling the summer of 2019. It was a pivotal point in my progression to adulthood. I had qualified for the National Leadership Conference (NLC) of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). It was a one-week event to be held in San Antonio. I reside in the state “the boss – Bruce Springsteen” made famous, New Jersey. The FBLA event promised to highlight various aspects of entrepreneurship and business. It struck a strong chord with passionate young individuals like myself.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly apprehensive about the experience; after all, I was to stay in a hotel with my friends and peers for a week, for the first time – what could go wrong?
To counter all uncertainties, I had to ensure I was ultra-prepared for the trip. One part of being ultra-prepared meant having enough MONEY.
I think at the time both my parents and I knew carrying hundreds of dollars of cash would be impractical and silly. Even with that knowledge, I could never have predicted the possibility of getting my own debit card. That is what happened. Hearing about getting it is one thing. But, seeing is believing. And when I saw that marvelous metallic red card with my name engraved on it for the first time, I was beyond excited. I held tight it in my hands with pride, knowing I would soon be able to buy things from halfway across the country, without my parents’ permission. That felt great times ten. It not only felt great, it turned out great! In San Antonio, I used the card to pay for my restaurant meals, buy small souvenirs, and even grab an ice-cold bottle of water in 90-degree weather. Not only did having my own debit card help make all my financial transaction in Texas safer and easier, but the card also became a meaningful object I carried with me that was filled an assortment of cherished memories.
The purchases I made weren’t just acquisitions, they were unique first experiences. Those recollections of a magical trip are permanently etched in mind and activated every time I see that card – early morning breakfasts; late-night meals; laughter and tasty food shared with friends.
I have always seen financial symbolism in having my own credit or debit card. It has a special power for me that in some ways is unrivaled. Just the mere idea of being able to purchase anything with a simple swipe captivates me. Of course, as American comic book icon Stan Lee once emphasized, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Here is something else that holds even greater power for me, my parents, their love, trust, and respect. I had earned it. The debit card demonstrated it.
As I grow older, it is likely I will obtain a credit card. My hope and plan are to use it thoughtfully and sensibly. From what I have researched credit can be alluring. It reorients users’ common sense. It misguides their priorities. It invites senseless spending. It neglects the value of saving. Wherever I go and whatever I do, I want to make sure to be prepared for the opportunities and responsibilities presented to me. I want to keep having meaningful experiences. I like having magical memories.
About Sidhant “Sid” Srivastava
Sid is an incoming junior at Livingston High School in New Jersey. He is the Director of Design Thinking for Economics Education Initiative (EEI) and served in the New Jersey Community Service Committee for the Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL).
See more of Sid’s thinking. He’s one of the young leaders featured in Panel 2 of Sammy Rabbit’s Teen, College and Young Adult Financial Literacy Discussion Panel!