Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Stimulating Yourself to Financial Literacy and Education

There are multiple reasons for this financial mess.  There are many of us that did nothing wrong and yet are suffering at the hands of the greedy and the unconscionable. I have been asking “How are we going to solve this problem?” I’m asking liberals and libertarians. I’m trying to read conservative blogs for answers but I quickly learned that there is a lot of anger in that part of the blogosphere.  We are faced with the equivalent of cleaning King Augeas' stables.  We have nasty work ahead of us. It can be done.

So I thought about it. What are some of the factors that contributed to this crisis? One of the factors is the lack of financial literacy. Because of the lack of literacy we use credit cards, pay day loans or cash advances as our personal money; it is not, we are borrowing money. This ignorance is generational. Many of our parents and grandparent had no financial education. This is not impossible to fix.

Time to clean out the muck and start planting new seed of prosperity. These are just a few suggestions. There is no one way learn this so I’m focusing on personal financial bloggers who are providing literacy and educational assistance.

BlogHer Resources:

Now if you haven’t already done so you should read our in-house folk like Jennifer Openshaw, Paula Gregorowicz, and the category on Money and Finance. There is informational gold in their posts so if you have been slacking now is the time to hit the archives.

Attitude Adjustments and Emotional Support

Suze Orman gets a lot of heat because she talks about the need for women to be mentally, spiritually and emotionally ready for prosperity. Now for some of you that is “woo-woo” talk. I get where she is coming from. You can wail about your lack of money.  You can pray or affirm to the heavens “I want more money.”

Until you believe and internalize that you deserve more and that you have a right to a better standard of living it ain’t gonna happen.  Belief without action is just as pointless. This is a two-fer folks, you have to do both.  I am a big fan of JD at Get Rich Slowly, he has a post on How to Build Confidence and Destroy Fear:

Without self-confidence, we have a tendency to make poor decisions. We make choices based on fear instead of what is best for us. If you lack confidence, you might fill your life with self-destructive behavior. You’re might work at a job you hate. You may allow yourself to get deep in debt. You may find yourself moving from one bad relationship to another. Without confidence, you don’t allow yourself to pursue your dreams.

Girls Just Wanna Have Funds is a meet-up of women who get together with a financial advisor to help each other get out of debt. NBC did a report about the Washington, DC group. According to the website:

Girls Just Wanna Have Funds is dedicated to the woman that wants to take charge of her personal finances. We value budgeting, investing, frugality and remain mindful of our spending habits. Move over and make way for women who are in control of their financial destinies and not afraid to say it. We’re armed with a positive net worth and not afraid to flaunt it while breaking financial ceilings one stiletto at a time!

Nicole at Career Girls knows that young adults and in particular divas in training are getting nervous. In her post on Resilience in Times of Economic and Career Crisis she responds to a friend who is feeling the pressure:

So why is resilience so important? Resilient people bounce back and don’t quit or give up easily. Their ability to keep going will eventually lead them to success. Resilient people can thrive and progress in difficult circumstances, and tend to get ahead when less adaptable people won’t.

Big Whoop – How Do I Begin with No Money?

You might want to do more research on that attitude part. You see you might have money in front of your eyes and not be able to see it. If you have kids that drink soda for water either that has to stop or you are redeeming cans and bottles. Changing your perception of what you have is a part of wealth building.

I know what you want. Easy answers. There aren’t any. But there are seekers and pathfinders you can pay attention and learn from.

The late Carla Emery called it back in 2004 when people were going crazy over adjustable rate mortgages. Carla gave a detailed explanation on What Frugality Means.  Emily at Remodeling This Life has a nice post on rethinking simplicity living. A Modern Gal has thoughts on what does redefining frugality really means to her:

When thinking of it from the resource standpoint, I have to admit, although I need to be mindful of spending and be prudent with cash, my biggest resource constraint is time.  Thus, it doesn’t make sense for me to spend hours and hours on something that might yield only a small amount of savings.  Sustainability also means the ability to continuously carry out good habits day after day

On the other end of the spectrum is Living Almost Large, she doesn’t want anything to do with frugal living. She does want to save money and plan for retirement but she also wants to spend money and enjoy life. Well, to each their own.

By her own admission Living Almost Large is in her 20’s and if you read the post she isn’t gonna win any love with the crafting community. I also think she has a narrow view of what frugality is; there is a range of people from those that peel toilet paper to those folks that plan for purchases and recycle when possible. Ryan at Uncommon Cents presents a good case for When Spending is Frugal.

Applied Financial Ed – Women Working Their Way Out of Debt

These are the folks that know how to stretch a dollar around the corner and around the block. Barbara Stanny has a good article on How to Respect Money. It is also a speed course on what you have to do to get out of debt.

Financial independence does not come from what you earn. It comes from what you do with what you have. No matter how sizable your salary, the money will slip through your fingers if you bypass this step.

Ms. Micah at Finance for A Freelance Life is using the month of February 2009 as Where Is My Money Going Month? Ashley at Wide Open Wallet has Five Tips To Help You Save.  Ashley has another post about helping to support schools via shopping at stores like Target, that give 1% back to the schools on purchases. I' don’t have kids but what if I did that and designated it to a school in need across town? What if we all did that?

Kristin at Turbo-Mom has a blog called Guide To Saving Money Without Wasting Time. All are welcome and you can partake of the goodies such as how to wrangle coupons, how to work Baby stores  to save money and the only legitimate place to actually get a free credit report.

Single Ma at Fabulous Financials was in debt and she shows her readers her process for the key to paying off debt. You can also check out her net worth status, it proves you can go to zero to your heart’s desire. Crystal at Brunette on a Budget is a financial writer/blogger. She mixes financial education with merchant credit card gouging and how to look good in high waist pencil skirts. Um, I’m thinking that for those of us who don’t have major bumps in the back.

I’ve got more but I’m running out of space. My point is do something, if nothing more than pass one of these folks along to a friend in need. Each one, teach one out of the darkness.

Gena Haskett is a Contributing Editor at BlogHer and this post originated under the Academic, Research and Education category.

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