Financial Literacy, Financial Literacy Awareness Month, Financial Literacy Month

Financial Literacy Awareness Carnival: Why It Matters

FInancial Literacy Carnival: Why It Matters to Me

My passion for financial literacy began over dinner when my father started teaching me about money when I was thirteen years old. As I observed those around me, I became fascinated by the relationship people had with money. It became apparent very quickly that my father was right when he told me money was emotional.

But it wasn’t until I became a financial advisor in the early 90’s that I realized how deeply rooted our emotions around money were and the hold they had on us. In my client meetings I discovered money caused so much anger, fear and resentment that it led to shouting matches between couples, sometimes right in my office.

Money could shatter marriages, paralyze intelligent individuals and cause us to lose hope.

But it didn’t have to be this way. I could help people think differently about their money. So many were enslaved to their debt, stuck in a spending cycle where they bought item after item for a moment of bliss. But it’s incredibly hard to stay happy when debt has a stranglehold on your life and finances.

People allowed money to control their lives for far too long. It was time for them to take back control, and I could help them do this. It became my passion to help people find the joy of living within their means and this is why financial literacy matters to me.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a financially literate world.

Our Ever Shrinking Financial Knowledge

Even though we handle money every day and consume so much, our financial knowledge appears to be shrinking. I find people fall into two camps:

[one-half-first]

Camp 1:

Those in debt who view money through a lens of misery and guilt while still believing more stuff is what will bring them happiness. They keep buying things for that moment of bliss.[/one-half-first][one-half]

Camp 2:

Those who have financial freedom and the choice to do what they want. They look at the options in their price range and choose which one makes them the happiest and aligns with their goals.[/one-half][clear-line]

We all want to experience financial freedom, yet few of us do. Why? Because too many of us don’t know what we are saving our money for. One of the first things I taught my girls was money needed a purpose, which is why we set save, spend and share goals every year. Without purpose, it becomes very difficult to make smart choices with our money whether you are a child or an adult.

Make Your Money Work for You

The first question I ask people is what do you want your money to do for you? I get a lot of vague, generalized answers, which doesn’t work for me. And shouldn’t work for you either.

Be specific. Don’t just say retirement. What does retirement mean to you? What will you do? When do you want to do it? Slow down and figure this out for all your goals too – buying a home, college education for your kids, a new car, family vacations, etc.

When you take the time to figure out what you really want (and not what society thinks you need), good things start to happen. Your outlook changes and your spirits rise. You find the strength to say “no” when you are tempted to spend your money on things you don’t need and instead eliminate the debt that weighs you down. You recognize knowing what you want helps you make smart money choices that feel good.

You no longer ignore your finances but stay on top of them, fine-tuning goals as life happens and priorities shift. You use your money to create joy for yourself and others. You do it for yourself, for your kids and because financial literacy now matters to you too.

Financial Literacy Matters to Us

Financial Literacy Awareness MonthApril is Financial Literacy Awareness Month. In celebration, I’ve invited some wonderful personal finance bloggers to join me today to celebrate such an important topic by sharing why financial literacy matters to them. They all have their own unique story and offer great tips, advice and community on their respective websites.

Please join us in supporting Financial Literacy by visiting the participating bloggers. Follow them on twitter, like them on Facebook and bookmark their blogs—you will be glad you did.

Financial Literacy Awareness Carnival Participants

Frugal Rules: Who Haven’t You Paid?
Reach Financial Independence: Why I Care about Financial Literacy and You Should Too
Tackling Our Debt: Teaching Financial Literacy in High School
Femme Frugality: Security throughout the Ages
Young Adult Money: Financial Literacy Definition Challenges and Good News
Debt Roundup: How Debt Started My Quest Toward Financial Literacy
Eyes on the Dollar: Why I Care About Financial Literacy
The Frugal Path: Teach Your Children with Actions
A Young Pro: The Key to Financial Freedom
The Random Path: Financially Under Construction
The Frugal Farmer: Our Story: In Honor of National Financial Literacy Awareness Month
Cash Cow Couple: 5 Warning Signs that You Might Be Financially Illiterate
Johnny Moneyseed: Financial Literacy Breeds Financial Idiocy
Plunged in Debt: If You Can’t Brush Your Teeth, You Likely Can’t Manage Money
One Smart Dollar: Why Financial Literacy Should Be Important to All of Us
Thrifty Dad: Financial Literacy Starts at Home
Broke Millennials: Candy Tax and Other Childhood Grudges
Canadian Budget Binder: Money and Finance: Why I Care about Financial Literacy
Debtblag: Why Financial Literacy Matters to Me

Thanks again for your participation! I look forward to reading your posts!

Shannon

The Heavy Purse Store is now open! My new downloadable Money Club Workbooks are now on sale. Each workbook provides five targeted lessons to help you raise Financially Confident Kids. Please check them out in The Heavy Purse Store.

Photos courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net.

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Comments

  1. Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
    You are so right Shannon. A lot of people are absolutely clueless about what their "purchases" bring along. The whole "enjoy now pay later" mentality is paralyzing whole families and ultimately countries.

    In fact, the situation is even worse in other countries of the world where "financial products" (read: debt baits) are only entering the market. The repayment conditions are insane but people still jump on those no money down flatscreen TVs because they feel they've broken free from the necessity to work and earn and can finally get all that stuff.

    Also thanks for the great list of resources - as a father and an older brother I need all those ideas :)
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      Thanks, Dennis! And thank you for stopping and commenting - I really appreciate it! I agree wholeheartedly and it makes sad because so few people realize how destructive and dangerous the "enjoy now; pay later" mentality really is. It is scary when you think about countries that traditionally haven't had access to credit cards are now getting them and unsurprisingly following our poor example. But it's my hope with the ever growing presence of finance bloggers that we can help create awareness and serve as positive wake-up calls. Definitely check out all the blogs, I listed - I read every single one them and they are fantastic!!
  2. Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
    That is staggering that 75% of retiring Americans had less than $30,000! How do they plan on retiring? Obviously the American social services are better than those in Australia.
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      I know! I had to reread it a few times myself and look at the data. They can't retire and are seriously deluding themselves if they believe they can. This is what happens when people procrastinate thinking about retirement because it's so far away, until suddenly it's not and you have little money saved.
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      My inlaws are retired with no assets other than a 12 year old car. They live on social security, which might be $1500 a month? You can buy groceries, rent a cheap house in a bad part of town, don't go to the doctor very often, don't ever travel or have sources of entertainment. You can get by, but it's certainly not how I plan to spend my golden years. I am really worried that one of them will fall into ill health. I'm not sure what would happen unless they moved in with us or my sister in law. I would also hate to depend on others to take care of me when I'm old.
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      This is a reality so many people face, standing at the edge of a cliff and hoping it doesn't collapse. It sad that we've come to point where this is commonplace, but it doesn't have to be that way. It's not how I want to live my golden years either. I know most people don't either, but unless they make some changes - it is their future.
  3. Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
    Shannon, thank you so much for putting this together. The stats at the bullet points amaze me once again. I had no idea that people were that unprepared for retirement. Thanks for letting me be a part of your mission to lift people to a place of financial literacy and peace!
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      You're welcome, Laurie! Thank YOU for participating and bringing such energy. I love it! Those stats sadden and frighten me too. The people in those situations aren't bad people, but they haven't been given the proper knowledge or guidance to know better. They just assume that it will turn out okay. For some it will and others will be in for a rude awakening, which is why it's so important to me for financial literacy to become a reality for everyone. Thank you for helping me work towards that goal.
  4. Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
    Those are some crazy statistics! Thanks for shedding some light on this issue and hosting this event!
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      Thanks, Holly! I'm sorry you were unable to join us this year, but hopefully next year! Since it's unlikely the world will become financially literate overnight, but we will continue to create awareness and help those ready to be financially free.
  5. Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
    thank you for putting this together Shannon!
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      You're welcome, Pauline!! Thank you for participating and sharing your story.
  6. Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
    Thank you for putting this together Shannon. I was happy to be a part of it. It is sad to see where we are as a society when it comes to something that seems important to all of us. I used to be financially stupid, but I changed that because I didn't want to be a bad statistic.
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      Thanks, Grayson. And thank YOU for participating and supporting this cause. Financial literacy may not have the awareness it deserves today, but it's day is fast approaching. And I'm glad you got smart and are no longer a scary statistic! :)
  7. Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
    Having definite goals is key. Otherwise that money seems to just slip through the cracks of everyday life. Those stats are staggering. Thanks so much for hosting!
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      Thank YOU for participating! I appreciate your support! Yes, people may not always like setting goals, but I think they are so critical when it comes to money. It needs a purpose. Otherwise, like you said, money just slips through the cracks and it's hard to tell yourself "no" when you don't have anything to weight against an unnecessary purchase.
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      Absolutely - without a roadmap it's way too easy to lose your way.
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      So true. It's easy to get caught up in day-to-day living and to lose sight of want you really want.
  8. Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
    I can only imagine the arguments that would ensue. If only to avoid that, it'd be well worth it. Like what you said, "when you take the time to figure out what you really want (your money to do for you), good things start to happen". So true! Thanks for putting this together and letting me be a part of it.
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      It's really not a surprise that money arguments are a leading cause of divorce. It can cause people to say and do some unfortunate things! At the same time, I have also witnessed firsthand how changing the conversation and focusing on what you want your money to do - can repair and strengthen many marriages too. Thank YOU for your participation and support - I really appreciate it!
  9. Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
    Parents modeling good behavior is still the best way to teach. Even if they are rebellious teenagers and reject everything you say, they eventually come around (don't ask me how I know this) and the whole world is better off, one family at a time.

    Thanks for doing this, Shannon!
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, William. I really appreciate it! Parents are always going to be the best teacher. I won't ask how you know about rebellious teenagers! :) Even if they grumble and argue today, your words and actions are still noticed and filed away. And one day, rebellious teenagers turn into adults who have the foundation to make smart money choices.
  10. Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
    "75% of Americans nearing retirement age in 2010 had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts." WOW

    This is one of the most disturbing money facts I've ever read. It's unbelievable that people don't begin planning for their future from an early age. It makes me so sad when I hear about my friends and other millennials passing up 401(k) options at work because they would rather be spending the $50-$100 per pay check on something in the moment. I'm so glad a great number of bloggers and financial advisers are out there trying to help make a difference.

    And thanks for including me in the carnival Shannon. It's really an honor to be among so many great bloggers!
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      Kind of takes your breath away, doesn't it? I have never had anyone ever tell me they regretted saving for retirement early, but I have had lots of people tell me they wish they had started saving earlier. When you're young and don't really understand the difference saving early can make - spending $50 or $100 doesn't seem like that big of deal. So many college graduates go into their first jobs having heard of 401ks, but not really understanding them. You are definitely making a difference with your blog and I'm grateful that millennials can learn from you.
  11. Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
    It is so true, people do argue over money and it does break up a lot of marriages as well. Either it is because they don't know what to spend their money and what not to, or they don't agree on what to spend it on. Sometimes one spouse is spender and one is a saver and that creates arguments. As I mentioned before, we never talked about goals as kids and I wonder how many parents actually do. Hopefully more do nowadays.
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      Money holds a lot of power over people and sometimes that power hurts more than it helps. Couples can definitely have different spending philosophies and habits, which can make life interesting! I know I'm a broken record, but this is why goals are so important. They can unite a spender and saver and reduce arguments when you have mutually agreed upon goals/vision to work towards.
  12. Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
    Thanks for putting all this together Shannon! This is awesome :)
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      Thank YOU for participating, Mackenzie. I really appreciate it!
  13. Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
    Thanks so much for putting this together Shannon and for asking me to take part! Reading those stats, while not surprising, just churns my stomach. Having goals is vital, but also is having a plan in place to reach them. Making your money work for you is a concept missed by so many today and hope we can help turn that around.
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      They make my stomach ache too. So many good people do not realize the risk they are taking for themselves and for their families. You are absolutely right - setting goals is the first step then you have to put a plan in place to achieve them and track your success. Too many people work for their money and it needs to be the other way around. It's my greatest wish we can help turn the tide and help people become financially literate. Thank YOU for your participation and support.
  14. Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
    Thanks for touching base with me and asking me to participate in this carnival today. Writing my post brought out alot of emotion from the past year but I also realized just how much impact sharing knowledge with people means to them and their future. We are all part of a team of believers in teaching personal finance not only to our loved ones but to those that follow our blogs. This team I am proud to be a part of. Cheers!
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      Thank YOU for your participation and support, Mr. CBB. Many of us started our blogs to share our journey and hold ourselves accountable to our goals, but along the way created amazing supportive communities that help people every day. It's amazing the difference we can make and the power we have to serve as wake-up calls. I'm proud to be a part of the personal finance community and happy to give back through sharing our collective knowledge on one of my favorite topics.
  15. Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
    Yes, there are couples out there who fight about money, either because they don't have enough or there's so much that it's tearing up the relationship.

    I used to have a love-hate relationship with money because of bad decisions my husband and I made when we first started out and boy did we argue and blame each other for our situation.

    Now that I have a second chance after bouncing back from a financial setback I see things differently and my mindset is totally focused on saving for my future like retirement plans.

    I'm always talking to the kids about money, something my parents didn't do. I think it was a heritage thing because we were never aloud to be around grown ups when they were talking. I think it was their way of protecting us.

    Looking forward to reading these posts tonight, getting them bookmarked so I'll be ready to go :). Have a great day!
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      Thanks, Corina! Money definitely creates a wide-range of emotions and some are not very positive. :) I'm glad you had a second chance to adjust your money mindset where you can see it in a positive manner. I think it's so great that you talk to your kids about money, so many parents miss this step or think they are doing a favor to their kids by not talking about money. Helping your kids become financially literate and understand how to make smart money decisions within their means is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. I'm glad you're giving your kids this gift. Definitely check out all the posts - they are AMAZING! Looks a great stuff!
  16. Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
    Thanks for hosting and putting together the carnival. Great topic we all need to share and continue to learn about.
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      Thank YOU, Kim for participating. I appreciate your support and agree it's topic that needs to become a priority.
  17. Justin
    Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
    Thank you for thinking of this carnival Shannon. It's such an important topic.
    I also think that people are too busy working for their money and never discover how to make it work for them.
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      Thank YOU for participating - I really appreciate it, Justin! You nailed it - we're so busy earning money that we never take the time to figure out what we want to do with it. Two sides of a coin and both are incredibly important. Thank you for sharing your wisdom on your blog and helping others increase their financial literacy.
  18. Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
    Thanks so much for hosting Shannon! Hope it reaches a lot people :)
    • Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
      Thank YOU for participating, Catherine. I really appreciate it! :)
  19. Thursday, April 18th, 2013
    Look at all the comments here, Shannon! I'm so happy to see your amazing posts getting out into the world :).

    I cannot imagine a world where everyone was financially fit. It is an incredible goal for all of us to strive for, one at a time. Educators like yourself are paramount to the journey!
    • Thursday, April 18th, 2013
      Thank you for your kind words, Tony! I really appreciate them. Thanks to great supporters like yourself, I am able to share my passion for financial literacy with more and more people every day.

      A day where financial literacy is the norm and more people pass financial literacy quizzes than fail them IS a lofty goal, but one that is vital to our long-term success. I know with people like you and the other amazing bloggers that participated in the carnival - we can turn the tide.
  20. Thursday, April 18th, 2013
    I agree with your perspective Shannon that money should have a purpose. It makes it so much more enjoyable to manage and spend when you can use it to reach specific goals.
    • Thursday, April 18th, 2013
      Absolutely! When you know what you want, it is so much easier to refrain from buying things you really don't need and it feels great when you achieve a goal.
  21. Thursday, April 18th, 2013
    I'm having deja vu because I swear I commented. lol! Anyway, I do like asking the question, "what do I want my money to do for me." I think that question and many others like, "do I really need this?" lol are things that have come up for me in the last year. So much about how I feel about money has changed...for the better since I became more financially literate!
    • Thursday, April 18th, 2013
      LOL! Been there, done that! Those questions are good ones and can help you stay focused on what you really want. Being financial literate makes a huge difference in one's life and I'm glad you're sharing your journey with others to help then became financially literate too.
  22. Monday, April 22nd, 2013
    Thanks for including me in this Carnival! It was a lot of fun and I hope you do something similar in the future ;)
    • Monday, April 22nd, 2013
      You're very welcome, DC! I'm so glad you participated and enjoyed your post. There is way too much apathy towards personal finance and we have to change that mindset. You're definitely on the list for future carnivals! :)
Shannon Ryan SHANNON RYAN, CFP®
  • Meet Shannon

    "As a Certified Financial Planner, it is my passion to help individuals and families build a healthy relationship with money. I look forward to helping you raise financially confident kids.” - Shannon Ryan
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