This post is part of our celebration of Financial Literacy Month this April.
What was your favorite topic in high school? Math, Science, English or Personal Finance? Oh wait, you probably didn’t have a personal finance class. Have you ever stopped to wonder why you were never taught how to handle something that touches your life every day?
Our lack of financial literacy shows. A recent report from Higher One, which provides financial services to colleges and students, and EverFi, which provides computer-based instruction, showed that when asked, college freshmen said the scariest part about their upcoming freshman year was being prepared to manage money. The study of 42,000 college students found 73 percent felt ready to keep up with coursework and 63 percent were confident about managing their time while only 58 percent of students surveyed said they felt prepared to manage their money.
This lack of knowledge has led to a collective fear of finance and an unwillingness from many to learn more about the topic. People tend to shrug off learning about money, thinking they’ll find someone else to do it for them. The truth is, although there are many great financial advisors and managers, “no one cares more about your money than you do.” (Thanks to my dad for the timeless advice!)
I personally had no formal education in financial literacy growing up, but I was lucky enough to have parents who taught me a lot and gave me the confidence to learn more. The past few years I started engaging more with finance-related materials, webcasts, podcasts and TV shows. I’ve learned a lot and feel more empowered to take control of my finances and my future. One of the people I’ve come to enjoy learning from is Suze Orman. She recently hosted her last show on CNBC at the end of March. During the show she said, “The goal of money is to be secure, to feel secure.” This simple statement underscores the importance of educating ourselves, our family and our friends about financial literacy. We have the opportunity to instill confidence, empower change and help others feel more secure. Is there a better currency than that to share?
As Suze always said, “People first, then money, then things.” Let’s take care of educating ourselves and others so that we create personal security and financial freedom.
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