Growing up, we are instructed in all manner of subjects. From how to brush our teeth to how to drive a car, we are taught how to be a successful human being. Financial literacy is the ability to understand and effectively use various financial skills, including personal financial management, budgeting and investing. Basically, it’s knowing how to handle your money well.
And while it’s just as important as both those things, teaching kids about money is often overlooked. So when those children become adults, they don’t have the financial knowledge and skills to successfully control their money. Need more personalized help? The University of Illinois Extension has a program that can help. Money Mentors is a network of trained volunteers who work one-on-one with individuals who request help with personal money management.
If you’re on the team that’s bouncing checks, take some time this month to think about your money and what you need help on. There’s no shortage of websites out there to help you improve your financial health. These mentors are available to meet with participants online or by phone. Maybe this is the month to ask for their help. If so, visit extension.illinois.edu/gkw/ money-mentors.
For some, financial literacy simply looks like taking the steps necessary to not have any checks bounce this month — and that’s perfectly fine. If you hold yourself accountable to a level you’ll likely never achieve, then you’ll never achieve anything. That’s true for all things, not just financial literacy. Sure, you can take the need of literacy to the extreme and say one must know about compounding interest, inflation and risk diversification. But if that last sentence made your eyes cross, fret not. While it would be great if everyone understood all those things and how to leverage that knowledge to obtain greater wealth, it’s not necessary for many to achieve financial success.
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