WHY FINANCIAL LITERACY SHOULD MATTER TO YOU
By Ja'Net Adams
So many people when they hear the words “Financial Literacy” they immediately start thinking about what they are going to have for dinner. To be honest with you sometimes when I hear the words used in certain situations I roll my eyes. Mainly because it is not shared in a way that people can understand how it affects their everyday life. You always hear people associating Financial Literacy with saving, budgeting, investing, and credit.
When in reality Financial Literacy is how you interact with your money on a daily basis in order to achieve the life that you want. It is much more personal than you think. So personal that money touches every area of your life. Politics affects your money, family affects your money, where you live affects your money, foreign countries affect your money, even strangers affect your money. So as you can see REAL Financial Literacy should matter to you because it is affecting your bank account whether you like it or not.
Let’s look at a few examples.
Trust me you are going to look at some of these examples and think to yourself “that doesn’t have anything to do with me.” We are all connected and although you may not have any children you should still care about K-12 because it still could affect your money and if not your money at least some friendships. I am sure everyone reading this knows at least one teacher. More then likely you are friends with a teacher. Financial literacy is important for K-12 not just for the students, but also for the educators.
Right now anyone working in K-12 with federal student loans has the opportunity to have their student loans completely forgiven or the years they have left of paying drastically reduced. The problem is tens of thousands of them don’t know about it. The deadline is October 31st 2022 and I am afraid many are going to miss out. Feel free to ask every teacher you know have they completed their PSLF paperwork. Ask those that work at colleges too. You are going to be surprised by the answer especially with what is at stake.
If those in the public sector are able to take advantage of this opportunity it could mean thousands of dollars of debt gone from their lives. That means they may be able to buy a home, or go on more vacations. They may be able to shop more or just participate in the economy. This opportunity could give them a new look on life.
For the students REAL Financial Literacy is a must right now! The reason that student loan debt sits at $1.7 TRILLION dollars and growing is because students are not being taught what they need when it comes to financial literacy. Why are you talking to a high school student about how to buy a house when they don’t have any money! It needs to be workshops showing them how to find scholarships, how to create a profile on LinkedIn so they can connect with the Dean of Business at the college they want to attend.
There needs to be workshops for those that are graduating into the real world after high school. Show them how to search for affordable apartments and compare amenities that the apartment complex offers so that they save money and make their paychecks go further. Workshops to show them the various high paying careers they can get without a college degree if that is their choice. What they don’t need is another credit workshop showing them how to go into debt for a score. (Insert roll eyes by me).
And it is not just for the high school students. Financial Literacy can be done with elementary students. Show them the importance of saving energy by cutting off lights or not leaving the water running. These habits will help those they live with save money on their utilities. For middle school students start to show them how to use their hobbies and skills to make money on social media. They no longer have to wait until they are 16 years old in order to make money.
REAL Financial Literacy is definitely needed in colleges around the country. There are professors with PHD behind their names living on food stamps. There are students that couch surf the entire school year and are also food insecure. Without students and professors colleges do not exist so it is extremely important to make sure that their financial lives are on a strong foundation.
For college students scholarship searching doesn’t stop until they are finish with college. I tell the students that I speak in front of that it is their new part time job. Workshops for college students should be centered around strategies to help them bring money into their life. The point of this skillset for them is when a financial emergency comes up they can easily come up with the money instead of going to predatory places like a payday loan shop or go into credit card debt.
For example one student who knows how to do photography needed a quick $300 so he offered headshots for LinkedIn photos and got the money in a few days!!! This is a lifeskill that can come in handy for the rest of his life. Students need to know how to bring money into their lives whenever they need it.
The benefit to colleges to have students like this on their campuses is that these type of students are less likely to drop out. They are more likely to make it to the graduation stage and increase the retention and graduation numbers of the institution. People always ask me “Ja’Net why do you work with so many colleges?” The answer is that the number one reason students drop out is because of money and I come on campus and show them strategies that keep that from happening.
The pandemic showed colleges that they can’t keep doing business as usual. The curtain was pulled back on how financially vulnerable the students are, the staff and faculty, even the institutions themselves. If you didn’t know $40 BILLION dollars plus went to colleges from the stimulus package and every institution needed that money. No longer can financial literacy be an option on college campuses. It needs to be front and center and it needs to be effective!
Or basically anywhere that has people working for them so it could also include non-profits. Many companies and organizations think that their employees are fine when it comes to money. Mainly because everyone comes to work with a smile on their face so how would you know that they are financially struggling. 75% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck so that means at least 7 out of every 10 workers are trying to figure out how they are going to financially make it month to month.
Before I go any further this is not just true for limited income and middle class employees, but also your higher earners who made the mistake of living above their means. Financially stressed employees cost organizations hundreds of millions of dollars each year because of decreased productivity. Also these same employees are not participating in the retirement programs being offered by the company putting their financial future also at risk.
These are just some of the reasons that it is imperative that organizations provide financial wellness for their employees. Help employees understand that they are not alone and they can seek help when it comes to their finances. That it is okay to learn how to cut out or cut back on monthly expenses so that they can have more money each month. When they are able to free up more money it gives them the ability to save their money and lessens the financial stress in their lives.
A decrease in financial stress for an employee means an increase in productivity and profits. Having financial wellness as an employee benefit makes great business sense.
Society As A Whole:
Up until now you may still be saying to yourself “none of this has to do with me.” Well now I want to hit home with everyone. To show you that financial literacy is needed for society to succeed as a whole. Before I talk about society please understand that financial literacy is not about someone not being smart about money. It is about them having access to the strategies and techniques that will help them bring in more money and manage it in a way that it grows. Many limited income people if given the opportunity could outperform many higher income individuals who had every golden opportunity handed to them throughout their life. So with that being said. Having REAL financial literacy implemented at every stage of life: K-12, Higher Education, and Career would lead to a stronger society. A few examples:
There would be less stress on the healthcare system because people would have the money for preventive care instead of waiting to go to the emergency room as a last result.
This improved healthcare means that employees are taking less sick days. This leads to potential for higher paychecks for hourly employees and higher profits for organizations because people are showing up to work.
If people are able to develop the skillset to bring in more money in their lives either from a higher paying job, or selling things, or cutting back on expenses then they are able to move into a higher tax bracket. This leads to less people on government programs which decreases our taxes.
You will see a massive decrease in poverty and child hunger rates.
Financial problems is the number 1 stress for individuals and their households. If that stress is relieved you have households that are healthier mentally and out of those households come happier friends, co-workers, and children ready to learn in the classroom. I could go on and on trust me, but I think you get the picture. REAL Financial Literacy is important and is needed not only in the United States, but also in the world.
At the end of this year and definitely in 2023 everyone will see why Financial Literacy is needed. Right now the direction of the economy is not looking good so if you feel that you don’t have a strong financial foundation then you need to take the steps to correct that starting today!
Just to let you know how serious I am being, over the summer I will be speaking to high school students all around the country. I am making sure they and those they live with are financially ready for the recession that is coming. This is what I mean by REAL Financial Literacy. Helping others get to a place financially where a recession doesn’t even touch them! Make sure it doesn’t touch you. Get ready.
Here is my presentation I did at the Education 2.0. In this video I go deeper into what I just shared above. The title of the presentation is: Financial Literacy: The Key To Success for K-12, Higher Ed, Corporate America, and Society As A Whole.
For those of you who work with middle school, high school, and college students my Summer and Fall calendars are open! If you are interested in learning more about how we can work together to bring REAL Financial Literacy to your students reach out to me here.
Other ways to stay in the know when it comes to your finances!
Hire Ja'Net To Speak: www.DebtSucksUniversity.com
My NEW Book "The Money Attractor!"
Tools For Your Money: The Money Attractor Academy
Facebook: Ja'Net "Dream Girl" Adams