Financial Literacy and Planning

Financial Literacy – Why it Matters

“The ability to understand how money works and how to manage it, is vital to everyone in order to be successful in life. Being equipped with the knowledge to navigate saving, investing, student loans, debt, taxes, retirement, etc, should be mandatory education starting at a young age, not an elective afterthought.”  –  Programmed to Spend

Without the knowledge necessary to make wise financial decisions, people often end up in serious debt trouble that can take a significant toll on their well-being. They may not understand the pitfalls of buying on credit, when you should and shouldn’t borrow money, or how high interest and fees can erode their wealth. If you don’t know the importance of credit scores, emergency funds, or how to make every dollar count, it is critical that you educate yourself. Without goals and some sort of spending plan, there will be no saving or investing for the future. There is a direct correlation between financial literacy and the amount of wealth one is able to accumulate before retirement –  it doubles.

“High school students in America have a financial literacy rate of less than 20%. To add insult to injury, we are witnessing a financial technology (fintech) upheaval, which means the majority of students are lacking all the basics needed for digital financial literacy. This leaves them woefully unprepared for managing in a cashless (or near cashless) world, maintaining online security, navigating digital currencies such as bitcoin, utilizing alternative online banking/lending platforms, or understanding digital wallets, asset and securities tokenization, and a multitude of other new digital technologies. Without digital literacy, they will be unqualified to work in the financial industry. It is already painful to watch so many young people struggle with student debt after graduating with a ‘Bachelor of Nothing Useful’ degree, and without significant change in education policy, things will only get worse.”  Digital Literacy Crisis – The Education System Needs to ‘Get With The Game’

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Why Financial Literacy?

Everyone needs a basic level of financial literacy, or you may find yourself in serious debt trouble, turned down for a job or promotion, unprepared for emergencies, and a myriad of other predicaments such as never being able to rise out of poverty. You have nothing to lose when a course like this is free – even if you don’t pass, you will still walk away with some beneficial financial knowledge.

In 2013, the FINRA Foundation released the results of America’s State-By-State Financial Capability Survey – the findings were dismal at best.

  • Younger Americans, especially those who are 34 and under, are more likely to show signs of financial stress, including taking a loan or hardship withdrawal from their retirement account or making late mortgage payments.
  • Younger Americans are more likely than older Americans to have unpaid medical bills. Of those surveyed, 31 percent of Americans aged 18-34 reported having unpaid medical bills compared to 17 percent for Americans aged 55 or older.
  • Fewer than half (41 percent) of Americans surveyed reported spending less than their income.   
  • Over a quarter (26 percent) of Americans reported having unpaid medical bills.
  • More than half of Americans (56 percent) do not have rainy-day savings to cover three months of unanticipated financial emergencies.
  • Over a third of Americans (34 percent) reported paying only the minimum credit card payment during the past year.
  • On a test of five basic financial literacy questions, the national average was 2.88 correct answers.

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