Financial Literacy Essay

1683 words - 7 pages







Although the term financial literacy seems new, it has actually been around for about twenty years. The ignorance of basic personal finance and economic issues has left millions of students and adults drowning in staggering personal debt, stuck in foolish mortgages, or stricken by huge investment losses. Even though we are moving toward a world of more sound decision making, financial literacy is still a major concern in America. In a world where our financial security is completely up to the individual, we cannot leave people financially illiterate.

The term "financial literacy" started back in the early 20th century, when "home economics" programs, usually intended for the female students, often addressed such matters such as nutrition, clothing, child care and hygiene. As the U.S. economy grew more sophisticated, a middle class began to form and Americans survived the post-World War 1 boom and then the Great Depression. In the 1930s and `40s more and more guidance on finances became available. [1]

Today there are endless amounts of government programs out there for our use. One of the best that I found was and it has a multitude of resources to choose from.

Budgeting is one of the main reasons people get into trouble financially. In my experience there are few people out there who actually write out a budget and stick to it. You have to do an honest to God assessment of how much money you bring in and how much money you spend.

Writing a budget may not sound like the most exciting thing in the world to do, but it is vital in keeping your financial house in order.

First, gather every financial statement you can. This includes bank statements, investment accounts, recent utility bills and any information regarding a source of income or expense. Record all of your sources of income. If you are self-employed or have any outside sources of income be sure to record these as well. If your income is in the form of a regular paycheck where taxes are automatically deducted then using the net income, or take home pay, amount is fine. Record this total income as a monthly amount.

Second, create a list of monthly expenses. Write down a list of all the expected expenses you plan on incurring over the course of a month. This includes a mortgage payment, car payments, auto insurance, groceries, utilities, entertainment, dry cleaning, auto insurance, retirement or college savings and essentially everything you spend money on. Break expenses into two categories: fixed and variable. Fixed expenses are those that stay relatively the same each month and are required parts of your way of living. They included expenses such as your mortgage or rent, car payments, cable and/or internet service, trash pickup, credit card payments and so on. These expenses for...

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