Financial Literacy: Changing the Norm

“Wisdom is what I pray for daily, even more than money.” — D. Daniels, Jr.

I wasn’t born financially literate. Actually, no one was. But I can truly say I started behind the 8 ball. As I became a legal adult, I knew nothing about credit. Everything I knew about investing came from a book my parents bought me at 13 but never explained. I didn’t have any semblance of a bank account until I turned 18. I don’t blame my parents. They taught me the way they were taught: Issues of finance were grown people. In their eyes, I shouldn’t have to worry about being financially literate at such a young age. However, I have since learned that such thinking often cripples at-risk youth, myself being one of those with financial polio. Everything I learned was by a lot of trial and even more error. I didn’t really begin to understand what I was doing wrong until my girlfriend, a very financially literate lady, and I began having transparent conversations about money. She was raised by parents who taught her at a young age about the value of both a dollar and good credit. I, on the other hand, thought I could get a credit card and pay the minimum on it monthly and keep a good score. But what happens when you graduate from college with no job and are in $x,xxx of credit card debt? I’m not making excuses, just painting a picture of a situation that is far too common. Sure, I am still working on breaking bad habits but now the difference is I have the tools necessary to change my situation. I read books, blogs, and newsletters weekly that help me become more knowledgeable. These are things that our generation has to share with the next. We have to exhibit discipline while still showing our children that life can be enjoyed without blowing money on everything they see. If we can do this, we just might have a chance at reversing the national debt before our grandkids inherit it. But it begins with educating both ourselves and those we are responsible for. That being said, I leave you with one question: Are you your brother’s keeper?

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