With the passing of the dark days of January, February brings a touch of Spring in the Irish air. And what better time to sit down and give some thought to your finances.
Learning about money should be a life-long process. And this is especially true today as more and more of us can expect to live longer yet have more financial responsibility when we stop working and earning a regular income. With both the State and employers scaling back from offering the traditional supports in retirement than in past years, how financially fit we are throughout life will set the stage for how well off we can expect to be. And it is financial literacy that will underpin this.
You are never too young, or old to learn about money, money management and how to improve your financial literacy.
In fact, financial literacy should be more than a passing fad. It should be treated just like physical fitness; a regular process of learning and refinement that will help those that are actively involved.
Following are some simple and practical steps that can support you in the continuous financial literacy journey:
1 Create visibility and keep an eye on your spending (and bank balance).
There is no doubt that modern technology has made it really easy to check in on your bank account regularly. It can be done from your home PC or your phone. So why not use the access to regularly check into your bank account balance and keep an eye on your spending as this can serve as a powerful way of keeping your spending in check. Use the information to track expenses, set goals and remain in track to achieving those goals.
2 Browse the finance section of a paper
Many journalists do a great job researching the market for all sorts of financial news, money-saving tips and best practice. This can range from tips on investing for retirement, cutting health insurance costs, buying a home and saving for a rainy day. So use their expertise as it can be a great starting point to getting great impartial money tips that could pay off handsomely in the long term.
3 Be humble and ask questions
People can be very hesitant to ask money questions. This happens where they can have legitimate questions but fear sounding ‘dumb’. There is NEVER a dumb question when it comes to money. Never! Remember, the worst thing you can do when it comes to your money is remaining silent. Talk, ask questions and speak up. If you don’t understand what compound interest is, ask! If you don’t understand what TER or OCF is, ask! Bye the way, they mean Total Expense Ration and Ongoing Charges Figure and refer to the costs that are applied to investments. The worst thing you can do when it comes to your money is remaining silent.
Frank Conway is a Qualified Financial Adviser and Founder of MoneyWhizz.org, the financial literacy initiative.
Every year, more and more adults make common mistakes when it comes to money. Especially difficult for many are concepts such as investing sufficiently, planning for life needs and preparing for money surprises.
But as we move faster and faster towards a cashless society, along this money superhighway, it becomes critical that kids are taught the essential elements of money and how the money system works. This can provide them with essential life skills that will pay massive dividends in the future.
For parents and teachers alike, there are a number of core skills that every 6-year old child should know about money including:
1. Planning helps people make choices about how to use their money.
2. There are 2 kinds of sharing – some goods can be shared that do not have to be returned, such as a gift. But there is another form of sharing, like something that is borrowed. And in the case of a borrowed item, this must be returned.
3. People that live in a local community share with one another everyday where they share the cost of services, like the cost of running the local school or paying for nurses in a hospital.
4. Money is limited for most people so it is important to protect it.
5. Money can only be spent once – after it is used, that’s it, it’s gone!
The new financial literacy framework developed by MoneyWhizz is a comprehensive set of guidelines developed specifically to facilitate parents; teachers and communities extend core financial principles.
The purpose of developing the principles and supports is to ensure that kids are better prepared to shoulder the burden of financial responsibility now and in the future. But equally important is that adults are empowered to facilitate the dissemination of the financial knowledge.
MoneyWhizz is proud to support kids learn about money as financial awareness is a core life skill.
Talking Cents with Ollie is a new and innovative financial education programme developed here in Ireland. Its main goal is to teach kids aged 7 – 11 about money and how money works. And it is developed to be fun!
Ollie is the wise Owl that offers all of the money wisdom.
Edition 1 of Ollie focuses on the history of money and examines how different people may have very different relationships with money. Some can be positive and others not-so-positive. What’s important is that Ollie leaves it to kids to make up their own minds as to what they think.
Edition 2 looks at the influence of advertisers and how they entice us to spend our cash
Edition 2 of Ollie takes a look at the important issue of Needs and Wants in our day-to-day lives. Ollie defines what Needs are and offers readers some useful examples. Ollie also poses some important questions for kids and challenges them to consider how some everyday influences may impact their money habits. For instance, examples are provided on the impact advertising has on everyday spending habits and how advertisers are experts in getting people (including kids) to spend their money…just to look cool!
It’s never too soon to start learning about how money works and with Ollie, it’s never been so coooooool!