- I worked for a nonprofit that taught financial literacy and learned a lot about money myself.
- I learned that adults have a hard time asking for help, and most don’t learn about money in school.
- I also learned the difference between good debt and bad debt, and the most effective way to save.
- Read more stories from Personal Finance Insider.
“I’m glad I learned about parallelograms instead of how to do taxes. It’s really come in handy this parallelogram season.” You may have come across this classic meme around tax time. It really hits home with me — and I’m not alone.
I’m a well-educated person. My parents had the financial literacy, foresight, and resources to put money aside for my education. They started an education savings plan shortly after I was born, which paid for my first university degree. Completing my undergraduate degree with very little debt to my name meant that I was able to pay for my master’s degree on my own.
You can imagine my surprise when I started a new job at a national literacy organization and found that, at the age of 30, I actually knew very little about
. For something so vital to our success in this world, it’s a wonder that money management remains shrouded in mystery for so many of us.
Connecting directly with workshop facilitators and teachers who delivered our financial literacy program to their learners from all walks of life, and then managing a portfolio of literacy programs, it was my job to know the ins and outs of our programs.
A lot of my work was around raising awareness of the need for financial literacy and advocating for lifelong learning. I quickly adopted the perspective that literacy exists across a spectrum — you may be highly literate in some areas of your life and weaker in others. Through my work at this organization, I came to terms with my lack of financial literacy and took steps toward improving my money management skills. I learned three key lessons along the way.
1. Money is an emotional and taboo subject
There are certain things in life, often very important things, that most of us aren’t taught in school. We pick them up along the way through trial and error. Effective money management is one of those things.
While some schools have mandatory courses in other life skills, like home economics or civics, few have financial literacy in the curriculum. I learned how to bake a pie, make a pillow in Family Studies, and build a bookshelf …….