The Importance of Financial Education

Financial literacy covers two primary considerations: knowledge of how various investment products work and when to utilize them. My personal “Why” as defined by noted author Simon Sinek, is to educate people about their finances so they don’t make inefficient financial decisions that lead to frustration and sometimes devastation. According to the Indiana Secretary of State website, 93 million Americans grade themselves as a C, D or F on financial literacy. Knowing my “why” and those statistics are what drives me at this stage of my career.

This week Anderson-based radio program “Consider This with Joe Clark” hosted a special guest, Secretary of State Connie Lawson. She shares a deep passion for educating people about their money. The state of Indiana has a free program called Indiana MoneyWise, which provides numerous resources from basic planning to specific topics.

Our conversation focused on a pilot program started in 2016 with six Indiana counties and 12 high schools. The students start with a survey and then after completing the program took another survey. The growth of the program has been astounding! “We now have 7,000 students in 81 high schools using the program,” according to the Secretary. Those are results that are hard to dismiss.

One of the challenges with financial literacy is knowing where to start. One of the largest benefits I personally received teaching financial planning at Purdue University for seven years was that I had to start over 14 times! The curse of knowledge is that I don’t know what I don’t know. The double curse is that I also don’t know what you don’t know! Being forced to start from scratch at the start of each of the 14 semesters helps reminds me that we have to build a base of knowledge before we can move to the complexities of money.

Indiana MoneyWise does just that! It provides a current educator the ability to let the students take the program online for extra credit or during class time. The program provides a roadmap to financial literacy before the students get into the real world of bills, credit cards and 401k plans.

The program is funded by residents and companies who have committed financial improprieties and have had to pay a fine. That seems more than reasonable and a good use of funds.

Understanding where you are in the financial world is critical to happiness. We focus on helping people be very clear about their financial strategies. Giving, living, spending and saving are each worth their own strategy and discussion. Too many individuals are wandering with no direction, living life one day at a time. Indiana MoneyWise seems to be a potential solution to help those willing to learn about their money to move in the right direction.

Record your notes as you start to build that foundation of understanding your finances. The clearer you can be about what you want out of life the easier that conversation becomes. Start with the basics of reality: what do you have today and where do you want to be tomorrow?

Disclaimer: Do not construe anything written in this post or this blog in its entirety as a recommendation, research, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. Everything in this post is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. I or my affiliates may hold positions in securities mentioned in the blog. Please see my Disclosure page for full disclaimer.

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