• Harry N. Stout

194- Financial Literacy Month: Developing Your Personal Money Leadership


On the money calendar, April is designated as Financial Literacy Month. Why are the months of the year designated as such? The answer is to build awareness of an issue or cause with the hope that people will take some time from their everyday lives to focus on a matter of importance.


In survey after survey, Americans just don’t know the basics of how to manage their financial lives. As I write this post, only 20 states require some form of personal finance or economics education prior to graduation from high school. The priority on financial education is far too low. In my view, the lack of money knowledge is also a contributing factor to income inequality in our society.


As I write my posts, participate in media of all types and answer subscriber questions, I know that improving financial literacy is a cause that I am personally glad to champion. In our country today, the lack of personal financial literacy impacts people of all ages. It does not matter if you are 18 or 63, married or single, running a household with dependents or living alone — money impacts you.


In observing the personal money subjects of our society, I see the following written about almost every day:

  • The small percentage of Americans with a written financial plan

  • Households without sufficient emergency savings

  • Low retirement savings with ever lengthening life expectancies

  • High levels of personal debt, including the impact of student loans

  • Car loan payments that are hard to make each month and repayment terms that continue to lengthen

  • Households not sufficiently insured for life, income protection and for basic risks such as fire and liability

  • Households without a cash budget or real awareness of where their money is going

The list of reported financial challenges or weaknesses goes on and on. All these reports reflect the fact that most people are not intentionally driving their money matters. They are expecting their financial lives to improve without doing anything different to make that happen.


Leadership Actions to Take

So what can you do to improve your financial knowledge and success? I have three simple ideas.

  1. The first action is to gain more knowledge through education and learning. The average American household spends just over 2 minutes per day on money matters. I encourage you to increase this to 17 minutes or 2 hours per week. Why spend the time? It will allow you to better manage your financial affairs and move closer to the financial security you desire.

  2. The second action is to educate your household on money matters. Making household members more aware of the families key financial practices and challenges helps everyone understand the importance of money matters in daily life.

  3. The last action is probably the most important. That is to walk the talk. You cannot be a money leader if you do not do as you say. If education and learning are important are you actually spending the time yourself? If being aware of spending is important do you exhibit behaviors that demonstrate you are carefully managing outflows? If you tell everyone having a cash plan or retirement savings is important do you have these plans in place? Overall, you must walk the talk to be an effective money leader.

Summary

Improving your personal financial literacy should be one of your most important self-leadership actions in our world today. In this everchanging world, how can you financially lead your household if you don’t know the basics of personal finance? It does not matter if you are 18, 38, 58 or 70 years old there is much to learn, improvements to make and actions you can take to improve your relationship with money. Our lives at all ages come with a whole series of money challenges and decisions for which we should prepare. The team working at the FinancialVerse Organization hope we can make a contribution to your learning and personal growth. We encourage you to continue to improve your personal financial knowledge and leadership.

At the FinancialVerse, we work to make personal finance understandable for people of all ages. Our easy-to-read books provide you with ideas on how to better manage your money and work to achieve financial security.


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