A very long time ago, literacy was understood only as an ability to read and write. Nowadays we are a bit further and many types of literacy have evolved: from social, labor, health, cultural, environmental, media up to the financial one.
Financial literacy is very important in today’s circumstances, because if we know its principles, we have the chance to live our lives being responsible for our own decisions as well as for our environment.
Many of us really highly and unfairly think about their level of financial literacy, however the situation is a little bit different. In the surveys, Slovakia has been on the bottom of the list for many years. The tangible proof is the fact that we belong to countries with one of the highest distraint rate.
Children learn first by mimicking, repeating the behavior of adults.
How to Reverse It?
Certainly, it would be nice if we were able to realize that we need to learn financial literacy since the early childhood and through the lifetime as well. If you want to start such a process in an early age, the adults should at least have the basics, otherwise it’s difficult to teach children what to do when we can’t do it ourselves. Of course, we should know the difference between income and expenditure; and that within the month it should be a plus (and how to handle the surplus); that it’s convenient if we know what we want to do in the future, how much it will cost and how to prepare, or to plan and not to do things all of a sudden – on spur of moment. Most of the time we are looking for money we don’t have, but we need, which usually cost us a lot. To ensure our income so we don’t suffer any existential problems, resist the baits of advertising and marketing. It’s easy to say that…
Children learn first by mimicking, repeating the behavior of adults; and what they are endowed with at their birth often accompanies them all their lives. If they experience many examples of loans and constantly tense payments, they will do the same.
If we develop financial literacy in the right direction, there is a realistic assumption that each of us will be thinking about our own financial future. However, the future isn’t something that concerns only young people. The life expectancy is constantly prolonging and therefore it’s important to be in financial well-being all the time.
What Is the Result of the Practice?
Today we still have a little bit of justice but we can’t move beyond our standard and have savings in the places that will increase it not devalue it.
In general, we are increasingly focusing on what the internet says and what literally the advertising “gives us massage” with. That’s where we get information first. And we also believe it is true. Therefore the situation is that the interest rate rather than the APRC (Annual Percentage Rate of Charge, which includes all the payments and not just installment payment) determines the advantage of mortgage credit as a reference point for many people. Likewise, many of us believe that installment buying is not a loan. That a debit card is an access to a current overdraft on a current account, and a credit card is an access to a credit on your own account. What still remains in us is that we are the best experts on our own finances, or we can discuss the situation with our family that has a very similar literacy to us. We do something like when we are sick and instead of looking for a professional doctor, we’re looking for help on the Internet and we’re still following this advice…
The Slovaks used to be a provident people and a fairy tale O troch grošoch (The Three Nickels) used to be their life philosophy.
Today we still have a little bit of justice but we can’t move beyond our standard and have savings in the places that will increase it not devalue it. How many of us can assess the impact of inflation on our savings? Why more than half of Slovaks have their money on the current accounts where they do nothing?
Therefore, it’s great that there is a real aid, an experience game – Financial Freedom. The game is intended for 6 to 30 players starting at the age of 10. There is a presenter who also provides an expert commentary. During the game, players will experience 30 years of living with family finance management. One pair of players will be given a role of a married couple at the age of 30 and will live with them for the next 30 years. They will try to fulfill the dreams and goals of the family from their own housing through education, holidays to financial independence. They set up various financial products, insurances; they invest in, and solve various traps that anyone of us can encounter with. The goal of the game is to bring the player to financial independence – a state where he has enough assets that can generate passive income. Then he no longer has to go to work because he must, but because he still wants. Financial freedom is not just a game. It’s also a way to quickly understand how real money is working and what happens if we don’t even know the basic principles. It’s a choice. For every one of us.
Text: Mirka Grochalová, photo: Pexels