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Friday, May 4, 2012

Financial Literacy Problem or Personal Responsibility Problem?

Ok so I read this article on USA Today about how this gal is soooo lost about her finances and doesn't know where to start, blah, blah, blah... and my first thought is... what!!

Why doesn't she use the ipad she is holding in her hand to navigate to one of the 10 million websites out there that go into endless detail about your money, personal finance, investing, budgeting, etc. 

There has never been more information available on how to handle your money, grow it and keep it than there is now. I mean, if you have internet access you can learn ANYTHING you want/need to be able to handle your finances. 

But really what it comes down to is personal responsibility. I would tell this girl and anyone else that if you don't know how to handle your finances then it's your own and yours only fault. The information and resources are plentiful and available to everyone just the same.

The knee jerk reaction is to blame it on the educational system. Wether we should be teaching personal finance in middle/high school and/or college is not the issue (sure it would be a good idea to do so) but don't blame financial illiteracy on the fact that its  taught in school. 

Just like I would not try to build a bookcase without first learning how to use a saw and finding instructions, I would also not have a credit card without knowing how it works. The same would go for getting a loan, mortgage, buying a mutual fund, having a 401k, putting together a budget, managing my paycheck and so on. 

If you are going to play the game you got to learn the rules, otherwise stay out. The same thing goes for money. If you are going to have it, use it and keep it then you got to learn how it works. 

So instead of waiting (once again) for the government to come up with a solution to our national financial illiteracy problem I say to go ahead and read a couple of books, some websites and that alone would take care of AT LEAST 50% of the problem. You can find a lot of budgeting, investing, and  money management resources on the main site and that is just to get you started.

No, you don't need to be a geek like me about this stuff but you have to take responsibility for your own financial education because no one is going to do it for you. 
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