Another year, another Financial
literacy Capability month in the books. Did it mean anything to you? Did you or anyone you know learn anything or feel less financially inept than last year because of it? Here are 10 things I learned from this years farce:
1. Banks and Creditors Have no Business Leading the Financial Literacy Movement! As long as banks and creditors continue to fund the financial literacy movement, it will continue to fail! The last thing they want are millions of people waking up to the psychology of consumerism and learning how to combat it! The same companies that promote their public education projects are the same ones that continue to screw consumers with their fees and products!
2. The Media is Complicit! Google articles and press releases for financial literacy month 2013 and hundreds of articles extolling the virtues of banks and educators pop up with quotes like this one below:
“Bank of America and Khan Academy recognize that no matter where you are starting from, the best way to improve long-term financial success is by changing habits slowly, step by step.”
3. Educators Have Bought Into the Con as Well! What, you didn’t know that becoming financially literate can help you get into a good college? Then read this quote from Penn State in response to an emailed question by Helaine Olen, author of Pound Foolish when she emailed them to ask about how financial literacy could compensate for such things as the fact that college tuition nationwide has more than doubled since 1980;
“Financial literacy helps students to treat education as an investment in their future. The real problem is not the rising cost of education; it is in the lack of financial planning and lack of financial literacy skills of making sound financial decisions. ”
Daad Rizk- Head of Financial Literacy Office at Penn State
4. The Government is in on it Too! None other than President Obama declared April 2013 Financial Capability Month. Now I have no idea why he changed it from financial literacy month as he proclaimed it in 2011 but since when did the government need an actual good reason to do anything? Here’s a line from this year’s proclamation:
My Administration is dedicated to helping people make sound decisions in the marketplace. Last year, we partnered with businesses and community leaders to roll out new public and private commitments to increasing financial literacy. Together, we can prepare young people to tackle financial challenges — from learning how to budget responsibly to saving for college, starting a business, or opening a retirement account.
5. Forget About Changing the Name of the Month; Change the Name of the Movement! Before our kids can learn financial functionality – and make no mistake about it; financial literacy as its being taught today is all about mechanics– we need to start teaching Financial Life Building Skills! Why do kids go to school; to build skills for life, right? Financial literacy is teaching kids and adults alike how to participate in a system that is already setting you up for failure! Behavior is the key!
6. Teach Kids Financial Life Building Skills from the Moment They Can Say “I want”! Being an involved parent and helping in my kids classes allows me to see first hand that when it comes to teaching grades K – 5, everything starts with building blocks to build a strong foundation for future learning. Well teaching Financial Life Building Skills to elementary school age kids is part of helping them build blocks of positive behavior that they will take with them for the rest of their lives!
7. This Movement Has to be Organic! When banks and creditors fund a movement and then combine with the Mass Media to promote it, what you have is a conflation of resources, attention, and a monopoly on public attention! Now add the politicians and non-profits and you get what we have gotten over the last two decades; a failed movement! Or; exactly what they have wanted all along!
8. Teach a kid, Teach a Parent! This year I went into my daughter’s second grade class (pictured above) to teach Financial Life Building Skills. It was easily the most enjoyable experience of this school year for me. With the help of Nancy Phillips of Zela Wela Kids, I was able to give the students a book titled Tips for Helping Your Children Get Off to a Great Financial Start. The following week, it was amazing to hear about the conversations between the kids and their parents as it pertained to needs and wants as well as budgeting. In other words, the conversation was started!
9. Nobody is a Better Steward of Your Economic Future Than You! Here’s the inconvenient truth; you don’t need banks, creditors, or anyone else currently leading this movement to secure your financial and economic future! All you need is to get your head out of your ass and learn the 3 pillars of financial life building skills first! Once you have strengthened your mind, learned critical decision making and behavioral skills, and defined who you are and your life goals, then you can go about the business of defining exactly what you want your money to do for you!
10. You must Help Yourself Before You Can be Helped! This is a lesson cemented through my own journey of surviving financial hell, through the creation of my blog, and culminating with the Amateur Consumer Manifesto; Never Again!
Look, we all need to be able to help ourselves with anything we do in life and that includes addictions. And YES, Consumerism and Materialism are addictions! The financial literacy movement, as it is currently constructed, does nothing to address this behavioral and cognitive issue!
Once you begin to start helping yourself in a positive way is when being financially literate will enhance the quality of your life.
I can’t wait to see what they will call it next year! What about you; does having April be Financial Capability Month mean anything? Did you even know April was Financial
Literacy Capability Month? Sound off by leaving a comment below whether you agree or disagree and please invite others to comment by sharing it with your friends