And How It Impacts Your Future
THE CHANGING FACE OF FINANCIAL EDUCATION
And How It Impacts Your Future
I am fortunate to have obtained what I consider to be a good financial education.
It wasn’t from formal education. It wasn’t from an MBA. All of my formal education, through engineering and an MBA, only included two accounting classes. Neither of these was about personal finance.
Our schools are designed to teach people how to be good and effective employees, not how to become financially independent.
I am concerned about the lack of financial education in our schools and population.
Why does it matter?
If you are reading this then you already understand that balancing a budget is a key step to building wealth. But as a nation we continue to elect politicians that cannot balance a budget.
This is not a new problem. Nor is it limited to our country. While in Germany this summer, I learned that King Ludwig II built three castles in Bavaria during the 1800s and went bankrupt. That seems incredible, that a king could go bankrupt. But he did. He never learned how to manage finances.
It also hits much closer to home.
If you are married then it is desirable to plan your estate so that a surviving spouse understands how to handle the investments. Or at least has someone who is a trusted source to turn to for financial advice and direction.
When it comes to personal finance, what we know primarily came from what we learned from our parents and what we sought to learn on our own.
But there is hope.
Last week I attended FinCon with 1,600 other money nerds. People who are promoting financial literacy and growing their businesses using social media. They have different backgrounds and professions including financial planners, doctors, real estate professionals and teachers. Some are podcasters, YouTubers, and authors. Some also use TikTok and Instagram. The list of social media they use seems to keep growing.
One of the speakers, Yanely Espinal, discussed a bill that was passed in Florida, providing for financial education to be taught in high schools. Yanely is director of education outreach at NextGen Personal Finance, a non-profit organization. The organization was instrumental in getting SB 1054 passed In Florida. Gov. Desantis signed the bill, and students will be required to have at least one financial literacy class in high school starting with the 2023-2024 freshman class. The non-profit was also tracking personal finance bills in 26 other states.
Fourteen states now have passed similar laws.
But it’s not enough to have only one class on personal finance in high school. More education is needed. Would you agree?
When it comes to finances, learning how to balance a budget and a checkbook is like having a fifth grade education. It’s not enough knowledge to earn or create a sustainable living for a family.
It was exciting to learn there are many other people who believe, like I do, that more education is needed. But we cannot and should not rely or wait on getting it through formal education channels.
So how early can we start teaching children about finances?
I was excited to learn that some of the authors had published books for kids. The simplest start at age 3. I have not read any of these yet, but have ordered some on Amazon for our granddaughter.
FINANCIAL EDUCATION FOR ADULTS
While many topics were covered at FinCon, I will touch on three here that affect us as adults.
ONE. Put first things first.
Lack of trust is prevalent today. People and integrity should come first.
Clark Howard talked about when he started hosting his radio show. Although the station used advertisers on his show, he would never personally promote one because he wanted to maintain his integrity. When evaluating consumer products he never accepted samples or discounts in exchange for making a review. Integrity matters and people need to be able to trust you.
When people trust you, your business will grow. Put people and integrity first. Never, ever, sacrifice your integrity. Then the money will follow.
TWO. Filter your investments for greater impact.
Over one-third of investments on wall street now have some kind of filter applied.
Some people choose to only invest in “green” stocks. Others avoid tobacco stocks.
Moving money from main street brings results closer to home and can provide greater returns.
Taking control over retirement accounts lets you be in charge of how your funds are invested. Investing in real estate puts your dollars and people to work in a local economy. Whether you are an active or passive investor, you can see the improvement your investment in a specific property makes in a local neighborhood.
THREE. There is an ever-increasing number of sources for financial education.
We have more books and blogs to choose from. YouTube videos to watch.
We are also busy and don’t always find the time to sit down and dive into something we may want to learn. For that, we have more ways to learn on the go. Podcasts and money-oriented radio shows.
Does it seem like you are reaching information overload? Is there too much information to absorb?
The good news is that you have more choices. You are enabled to make wiser choices as you increase your awareness.
You don’t have to figure it out all by yourself. As we grow our networks we learn how others have become successful before us. They are telling their stories in many forms of media so that we can learn and follow successfully in their footsteps.
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Mike is a retired aerospace engineer with a passion for real estate investing and teaching financial literacy. He lives with his wife in Daytona Beach, Florida.