By C.J. STOREY
Companies and “self-help gurus” alike are inundating the general public with opportunities to become more financially savvy. Without the proper knowledge or checks and balances, when it comes to financial matters, it is easy to get into financial trouble. In past generations, cash was used for nearly every purchase.
Today, consumers very rarely use cash. The way shopping is conducted has changed. Online shopping is quickly replacing department stores for many younger shoppers. This new home based cash register creates plenty of opportunities to become over extended in respect to credit cards. Also this has become a very simple way to accumulate debt-fast. Many of these young consumers have very little understanding of personal finance or how credit works. There is a real potential to negatively affect their financial well-being for many years to come. In fact, the lack of financial understanding has been signaled as one of the main reasons behind savings and investing problems faced by many Americans.
What Is Financial Literacy? Financial, credit and debt management along with knowledge of how to make more responsible decisions in financial matters have merged together to form the “Financial Literacy” arena. The key to taking control of our circumstances and to improving our everyday lives appears to lie in the formation of better financial habits.
Financial literacy spans from understanding how a checking account works to learning how FOREX investing can become a viable second income stream. No longer is it just about learning how to avoid or get out of debt.
In order to make it in this modern era, a more strategically offensive oriented game plan is necessary. Financial literacy will impact the daily decisions made in every household. The average family will use their newly programmed financial literacy minds to balance their budgets, purchase primary and secondary homes, create educational funds for their children and bolster their retirement nest eggs.
A lack of financial literacy is a huge problem in America especially in minority communities. When examining minorities, we find that they are plagued with higher debt delinquencies, have a lower homeownership rate, they are more likely to experience a foreclosure, average less than $10,000 in savings, and carry the most high cost auto or consumer loans as debt. These facts are even more prevalent in the African-American communities.
Surveys conducted in the past have indicated that many African-Americans do not have a working knowledge of how to accumulate wealth with the purpose of establishing a financial legacy for their future generations. The only true way for minorities to lessen the disparities in wealth is to “bridge the gap” using financial literacy.
Do not think that Americans are the only consumers in need of a more sound financial education. Residents of other developed or advanced countries also fail to demonstrate a strong understanding of financial principles. They also at times mismanage financial risks and fall short when it comes to avoiding financial pitfalls.
Nations globally, from Belgium to Portugal, or from France to the Slovenia, are faced with the worst economic problems of our era. The populations of these countries who do not understand financial basics will find themselves buried in debt and living in poverty. Their only saving grace will be to learn how to stretch a modest income, create a new income stream, and initiate a method to save something. These are all components of financial literacy.
Most people are under the impression that debt and “poverty line living” are conditions that distress only the uneducated poor masses. With higher education and income levels, the presence of financial literacy can be more conspicuous in day to day decision making. Education and money do not always play a factor.
Evidence shows that highly educated consumers with high incomes can still be just as ignorant about financial issues as less educated, lower income consumers. In general, often lower income individuals tend to demonstrate less of a financially intellect. And it seems, some consumers are like “old dogs,” they refuse to learn new tricks.
Financial literacy will play a crucial part in helping to correct our weak economy. A comprehensive financial literacy education can help ensure consumers will save enough to retire with grace and without stress.
Also forming the right financial habits can help avoid high levels of debt that may contribute to bankruptcy and foreclosures. Applying the right financial principles can save consumers thousands of dollars in interest fees, help create a platform for homeownership, eliminate arguments over estates, help increase net worth, and establish a financial legacy for many generations to come.
Over the next few months, we will share insights and information to help tackle the biggest financial combatants. We will start with strategies to protect the family financially during the worst kind of emergency. From there we will provide techniques for increasing savings and making your savings work for you. And finally, everyone should know how to locate and evaluate opportunities to add legitimate revenue to their households.
A proper financial literacy education can have a profound impact on every consumer. Every community member should have both offensive and defensive financial strategies. If they possess both, an ability to avoid the pitfalls of debt while creating provisions for their future, can be realized.
Because of recent trends, it has become imperative that consumers understand basic finances. A better education will afford better choices. Better choices with foster better lifestyles.