Is financial literacy a subject you want to change from a weakness to a strength? You can starting with three easy steps to better understand money.
A heated conversation between three women discussing finances while waiting for a bus resulted in this verbal assessment:
“If you don’t know how money works, you’ll be a smart broke person.“
Do you agree?
I was at that bus stop reading a book and could easily hear the discussion.
These women were passionate about their belief in whether or not a college education is instrumental to make money. Their discussion reminds me of the many stories about people who made millions of dollars without attending college.
Back in the day
The first person I remember hearing about in the no college education category is the late Darryl Dawkins. Professional basketball players are often found in college through scouts and then drafted by teams upon graduation, but Dawkins was signed after attending high school. Pro-ball salaries weren’t yet in the millions, but his non-college entry was an industry phenomenon in 1975.
So much has changed since then regarding education and money. Formal education is more expensive, and money is sometimes difficult to acquire. For those who suddenly find themselves with the ability to make lots of money, the windfall refers back to the women’s assessment. Without financial knowledge, in college or otherwise (mentoring, adult school, learning centers, etc.), money can be misspent as quickly as it’s made.
Right place and time
I began my formal training on money management working at Dean Witter, the former investment firm. The company offered employees free in-house courses to learn finances, time management, and how to read the Wall Street Journal along with other programs. I completed the classes mentioned above which became the foundation for my financial training. It was a blessing.
You may not work for an investment firm, but you have the opportunity to learn about finances wherever you are in the world. Courses are available in person and online, and you’ll also find books in your local library and uncover podcasts that focus on financial literacy.
Here’s a simple three-step start.
Three easy steps to better understand money
1. Write down the money topics you want to learn. Don’t choose trigonometry if you need addition or division. The basics are a great refresher.
2. Select one topic from your list to begin. Perhaps it’s a class to understand your mortgage statement, interest charges, or documentation you receive by postal mail or email each month.
3. Type the subject into your web browser to find a knowledge center. Review the selections and choose a course that fits your lifestyle, one that’s hopefully available online 24 hours. That’s the availability of several online classes I teach.
What you seek isn’t always labeled as a course. It may be a workshop, event, or seminar. What matters is that you are pursuing financial education so you understand the numbers.
There is no longer an excuse for not knowing as much about money as you wish to learn. Gone are the days when you were hampered by university classes scheduled at times you could not attend. The knowledge is everywhere including through library books and CDs. Step by step you become more of a financial genius, a category you’re probably part of and don’t yet recognize.
Pick a program, learn, and continue to learn so smart and broke is not your future.