Why does it matter that people learn about finance?
Well — because, fortunately or unfortunately, money does make the world go round.
Every time you order a coffee, every time you buy something online or go out to eat or write a check or choose a place to live, you make a financial decision. Those tiny choices can build up over time, creating a pattern that can mark the difference between thriving and surviving.
I know it’s not easy to navigate the world of finance. I may have a college degree and a handful of accounting classes under my belt, but I still had to learn not to lease a new car from a YouTube video.
In fact, it may be getting harder for young people to get a hold on their finances. Compare today’s young adults to past generations, and just a few of the factors complicating financial decision-making today:
- Greater use and convenience of credit. Long-gone are the days when most purchases were made with cash. Now, the availability and convenience of credit — not to mention a heavy increase in online shopping — makes it easier (and almost normal) to spend beyond your means.
- Heavier responsibility for retirement savings. The parents and grandparents of today’s young adults had pension plans: retirement funds that were managed by professionals and required little involvement from company employees. Those kinds of savings plans are long gone, often swapped for 401(k)s that require more investment decisions and oversight.
- Swifter, more complex financial markets. Markets have gone global, and investing in the age of the internet can seem like a complicated endeavor that occurs at a breakneck pace.
- Reduced government safety nets. Older Americans could rely on Social Security to support a significant chunk of their savings for retirement. Now, the program barely provides enough for survival and is at risk of being depleted completely.
Greater levels of financial literacy also create better, happier members.Multiple studies have shown that financial education efforts lead to:
- Lower default rates
- Lower debt levels
- Increased rate of asset accumulation
- Improved rates of savings
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to describing the benefits of financial literacy. At Zogo, we’ve seen firsthand how learning about money can help someone escape the burden of debt or create a better life for themselves. When it comes to finance, knowledge is power. And that kind of power can help individuals across the country take control of their lives and have hope for the future.
At Zogo, we want to create a new generation of financially literate consumers — because money may make the world go round, but we’re the ones in control of our own pocketbooks.