FINANCIAL Illiteracy. Our downfall.

The curriculum which we were taught back then in school have not kept up with the times even to this day. The basics have still stayed the same but new innovations have been added to the list. This is the minor difference that we can see which is being differentiated when compared to the prior ones. Various disciplines do change as the years advance and it is to our benefit to follow its progression as time progresses in front of it. If we do not follow we will be left behind to fend for ourselves.

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We have been taught to learn anything and everything that might be needed for use during our lifetime and to move through society. We learn table manners, disciple, punctuality, honesty, integrity, passion, creativity, self respect and respect for others etc. But we have been completely kept in the dark regarding the most important thing in life, without which we cannot pass another day. That is the subject of Money and finance. Almost all of us have been completely financially illiterate, totally ignorant on the reality of money in real life and the application of it in each and every stage of our lives. Hence we are all brought up knowing nothing about money management either.

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Maybe this could be a conspiracy in itself. Why are we being taught everything in school except the topic of money. Just by being book smart, we all know that we cannot survive in this World. We need to be street smart too. Without sufficient knowledge in any topic we are sure to make a lot of mistakes and get burnt in the process. But our misery may be someone’s blessing. I think you get the point. The less we know, someone benefits big time. This is why we see many so called experts popping up from nowhere who would love to lay their hands on our hard earned money giving us the impression of them  “helping us”. Of course this comes to us at a cost, that is a percentage of our portfolio. Every $1 adds up. For them it’s times millions of customers at say $1 a piece. It does add up to a big chunk. They are literally getting paid to play with our money. These days we can do the same just by accessing information at its source. Once we cover the basics and we throw in the towel to test the waters, we may get a feel of how anything works in this financial World. This may be exactly what these so called experts are doing for us. They are in fact taking over control and learning by making mistakes using our money. But when they invest, they have already got the hang of things.

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Looking at the recent past many people got burnt and ended up in bankruptcy for no other fault of theirs other than being ignorant. In the feeding frenzy that preceded this, anyone and everyone had jumped on the bandwagon to grab the money that was in fact up for grabs. When the dust settled, the major players had taken off with the loot smiling all the way to the bank. Meanwhile the ones who remained went under one by one and started sinking until it had reached epidemic proportions disrupting the entire financial system leading to its collapse. The people who had made it big may have really made it big to last several generations and the poor who believed in creating their dream had their dreams shattered even before it got a chance to rise. This is the power of being financially illiterate and guess who pays the ultimate price of financial ruin. This title is also been given to a financially illiterate individual.

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We have all heard the expression: It’s not what you make that matters, but it’s what you keep. Living paycheck to paycheck and waiting for Friday to blow it off is not living. It’s called ignorance. Again when we keep repeating the same routine over it is called living day to day with no planning in mind. The rich invest their money but the poor spend their money. The rich manufacture products that are designed to be consumed by the poor. The poor are the best consumers, because they will buy anything and everything on impulse. No wonder all of us have a reason to declutter our homes and start to live a minimalist lifestyle. But to do this we need to first realize and accept that we are in a consumption mode. The next step is to curtail all unnecessary and non essential spending. The current trend seems to be the norm and we are all working just to pay the bills. If that’s all we are doing, when do we find the time to life something called life. So when have we planned to live life other than just going to work and paying the bills? Nothing in life goes as planned and nothing in life is guaranteed. So why plan? Without a plan we will be just part of the crowd following the herd to and from work and back. At least we will need to create a blueprint with which to follow. Otherwise we will be completely lost.

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Financial education is a requirement and not a luxury for surviving in the World today. Without which all of us may be going head on to meet financial ruin. We need to wait for no one to educate us today. The internet is at our disposal 24/7. Use it or lose it. All we need to do is to jump in, learn and apply what we have learned in the right context and at the right time. No one is an expert. The basic definition of an expert is someone who does the same thing over and over again. He who has also made all the mistakes and learned from them. We need to be our own expert by benefitting from reading books and articles on any subject. No one was born an expert. We are no exception and there is no excuse not to be one.




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