My obsession with finance and economics has opened many doors. From gaining interest in AP Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, to investing avidly in the stock market, I’ve learned many things. I’ve realized that human nature is in fact a force that must be reckoned with in economic analysis, and I’ve realized that history may be destined to repeat itself if with ignore the past mistakes of previous financial crises. However, above all the extraneous financial understanding that I’ve gained, I believe I’ve gained one of the most important practical skills: financial literacy. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to understand spending, saving, and everything in between. This is something I hope everyone can have access to and be able to leverage.
Why is financial literacy important? Why should it be taught at an early age?
Many who lack a fundamental understanding of finance, especially personal finance in the United States are missing car payments, extending their earliest possible date of retirement, and increasingly relying on loans. Possibly already facing the crippling pressures of student loan debt, the burden of more and more expenses that must be paid off can financially ruin someone. This is exactly what is happening to millions of Americans, and this can be prevented through financial literacy.
Financial literacy is especially important in a consumer-oriented society such as the United States. Marketing is an incredibly large industry in this country because the American consumer buys the latest products and technologies. Thus, America has some of the highest global levels of consumer debt, specifically, credit card debt. In this way, financial literacy is especially important in teaching the basics of investing and saving for the future. The latest iPhone is now, but it cannot be purchased at the expense of saving for retirement.
When children are exposed to financial concepts, as simple as saving money and earning interest, they have formulated early ideas about money. What purpose does it serve? Rather than having them figure it out on their own, they will already be predisposed to good financial habits. If students are exposed to the financial basics of adulthood – how credit cards work, how bills work, and the basics of taxes – they will be much more likely to make smarter financial decisions in the future. They will also understand the underpinnings that define the financial system. They won’t be confused when they have to file taxes for the first time. They won’t need help when their first credit card bill arrives.
As a society, we should not take financial literacy for granted. It is not simply a skill that can be picked up instantaneously, or even over a long period of time, without ample help. There has to be guidance – from parents or educators. When they want to learn more, there should be an online presence or resource to turn to.
Why I founded Financial Literacy Journal
I founded Financial Literacy Journal because, firstly, financial literacy is something that is important. There are the core subjects in school – math science, English, and history. Yet the practical skills, such as how to file taxes, or how to invest your money to earn passive income, are not taught and, despite recent legislative attempts, are not likely to be taught extensively anytime soon.
Financial literacy also lacks a strong online presence. There are very few organizations dedicated to spreading financial literacy to students and even adults. Other sources of financial information are complicated, or they only focus on economics courses such as AP Microeconomics. In this way, the basic ideas of money – how to invest it, or how much of it to save – are not actually taught. How do credit cards work? Why should I utilize a 401K? These are questions that remain largely unanswered to many, and the internet has not yet provided a source to answer these questions.
Access to financial literacy should be free. There shouldn’t be paid courses on how to invest, and it shouldn’t be required that students pay for basic financial literacy workshops. Resources should be widespread and accessible – not concentrated and expensive. Financial Literacy Journal is a completely free, accessible resource for lessons and articles on financial topics, and something I believe will firmly change how financial literacy is taught today.
Financial Literacy Journal is an ambitious organization, and our project is going to be difficult to accomplish. However, I firmly believe that by creating content that not only interests, but educates students and adults alike on financial literacy, our society will have better spending habits, credit scores will go up, and the population will be able to retire early with money earned from smart investments. Financial literacy is something that must be taught, and I hope Financial Literacy Journal can be a pivotal driver of financial education for everyone.