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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Financial Literacist

Let me coin a word - "financial literacist."  A financial literacist is one who seeks to increase financial literacy.  It is one of the hats I wear.

To do this, I write the blog you are reading, participate at financial literacy events, and give seminars.  I recommend books and articles for people to read and seek out unique ways to help people with their finances.

For example, here is a great article on "10 Money Mistakes Everybody Makes" by Brandon Ballenger at MoneyTalksNews.

Item #3 "Passing up retirement plans" is my bailiwick.  But I also note the "GymPact" idea mentioned in the video and pass the idea on.  With GymPact, you make an online commitment to go to the gym a set number of times per week along with other fitness people.  If you don't do it, you pay a given amount into a pool.  Those who satisfy the commitment split the pot.  The app is tied into the GPS and requires that you spend at least 30 minutes at the gym, etc.

This is all a bit too high tech for me.  I just put on my shorts, step out the front door, and go into my jog/slog thingy for 30 minutes or so.  But still, I'm interested in what the kids are doing these days to motivate themselves using satellite transmissions, social media, and whatnot.  GymPact is a clever way to hopefully lessen the widespread practice of wasting money on a gym membership.

One of the big frustrations I face as a financial literacist (see above for definition) is getting the message to the people who need it before it is too late.  A couple of weeks ago, I was on a panel at a local library branch; and it was obvious that the people in the audience were either those interested in and knowledgeable about  financial topics or who had messed up their financial lives.  I expressed the thought that 75% of the people in the library outside the room were the ones who really could benefit from the expertise freely given by the panel members.

Think about this.  If you habitually read blogs like this, you are probably already managing your finances well.  The push, I think, has to be to get friends and family to understand the basics of financial literacy before their financial situation becomes precarious.  To this end, I invite you to spread the word and become a financial literacist.

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