Financial Literacy means how much we know about our currency in the World, our money in our pocket, our savings in our bank and financial products available to us. What do we know about investment and savings? How can we make our money work better for us, to improve our lives?
In 2015, a study by the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) said “A growing body of literature also reveals that a financially-literate population is able to make better financial decisions, has higher levels of savings and diversified investments, and is more competent in managing debt.”
During this study results showed that around 2% of Filipinos were considered to be financially literate based on answering questions about basic numeracy, computing compounding interest, fundamentals of inflation, and investment diversification.
When people work to live, and live paycheck by paycheck it is difficult to plan for the future. When pay is small and expenses are big, it is simple economics that savings are not a focus and less of a priority than paying the bills and ensuring that we can live day to day. If we are to become more financially literate, then we can start to plan for our future, today.
Emergencies happen from time to time, so we need to have access to money in the short term. This could come from savings, or could come from lenders willing to give us the money we need, so we can pay it back in affordable payments. When there are no emergencies, what should we do with our excess money? How can we make sure that we are prepared for emergencies ahead of time?
A simple example is Christmas and Birthdays. We know in advance that they are coming. They happen at the same time every year. If we are financially literate we will put some money aside each month to make sure that we can afford the additional expenses that we know are coming.
Other examples include buying a house. We all know that we are not going to live with our parents forever, and some day we will want a place of our own, a family of our own and means to support that family. Building up our credit score means that we can be sure of getting the housing loan when we need it, we have the deposit ready to go, and we have savings for the initial costs of buying and moving into our new home.
Getting more complex, we should understand that loans come with interest, and it costs money to borrow money. Understanding interest rates, repayment terms and rules of borrowing means that we are becoming more literate and knowledgeable with our finances.
You might want your children to go to college, to have their own homes, cars on their 18th birthday and the ability to travel around the world. This takes future planning and understanding of savings accounts, loans, investment plans and being aware of inflation rates, and planning accordingly. The price of a car today will be different to the price of a car in 5 years time, money in your savings account, or cash in your pocket is not always worth the same amount.
There are fundamental rules to follow that can help you to start to become more financially literate, like opening a bank account, having a percentage of your income going away every month that you can not touch, and learning to live well within your means. Rich people do not necessarily earn more money, they are just better with the money that they have, and invest it more wisely.
If you want to get rich, working a 9 to 5 job will probably not get you there. Working a 9 to 5 job as well as having an income from a side hustle could help. Investing in property, renting out your motorbike, car or computer to someone else means that you can earn money from a different income stream whilst also working your day job.
The more income streams that you have, the more money is flooding into your account. The better you understand your money, the better you can plan for your future, today.
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