What is financial literacy and why is it important? Per Wikipedia, “Financial literacy is the possession of the set of skills and knowledge that allows an individual to make informed and effective decisions with all of their financial resources.” As part of daily life, each of us routinely makes decisions that impact our financial well-being. From children first earning an allowance, to being gainfully employed, to having our own children, to retirement; there are a multitude of life stages, each of which require a different financial focus.
It is never too early to start learning how to make good financial decisions. Once a child is old enough to understand money and has discretion on how they might spend even pocket change, they can begin to absorb simple lessons on spending vs savings. In a similar vein, it is never too late to learn more about finances and start walking down the path of becoming financially literate.
I think some folks believe “all that finance stuff” is just too complicated, too hard to understand so they give up before even trying. This is a truly a mistake. Like so many other areas, breaking down the information, taking a piece at a time can make it all manageable. You don’t have to become a CPA or a financial advisor. Every piece of information you learn will put you that much further ahead.
Need inspiration to get started? A tool that you can use at different stages of life? If so I would highly recommend you check out 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, a website sponsored by the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants). The website, https://www.360financialliteracy.org, has a wealth of information to assist in taking the financial reins at all of life’s stages. On the website there are videos on topics like budgeting, debt management and savings as well as articles on current topics such as tax reform. You will find calculators for college and retirement planning, as well as the ability to post questions and get answers from The Money Doctor.
The path to increased financial literacy start with a single step. Take that first step today!
Lisa Cvecko, CPA, CGMA, Vice President of Finance