Wealth - The Side Effect of Financial Literacy
I was born and raised in a small town in Idaho.
The concept of money was taught to me from a very young age. My parents who owned several small businesses have since sold most of them. For them, there were many lessons along their journey, both good and bad, each one was a true learning experience that they passed down to me.
I first started a candy store for the kids in my neighborhood. I then progressed and started a lawn mowing business. From these small business ventures, I went to work for some other companies and held many different jobs. For as long as I can remember I would chat with my parents about business and money. I watched them and absorbed so many great things. To name a few: the concept of money, investing, taxes, and how the business world works. I still use them as a sounding board for any business ventures I look into pursuing. I call my parents my personal Board of Directors.
The reason I am writing this is that I realized something. Not everyone thinks like I do.
Many people don't see things like I do and they do things very differently than me when it comes to money. I looked back to why this might be and had an epiphany. The reason for this, is due to the fact that everyone didn't have my same parental lessons. Anything and everything that I think and do with money or finances stems from what I learned in the home. Financial literacy is one thing that Americans struggle with most.
Forbes has a few statistics that are quite shocking. 33% of American have $0 saved for retirement, 38% of Americans hold credit card debt; ($16,000 on average), 43% of Americans have student loans and are not making payments, and 44% of Americans don't have enough money to cover a $400 emergency. Listening to these statistics, it is hard to correlate how America could be known as one of the wealthiest countries in the world. You wouldn't know these things unless you started looking at the average Americans financial statement.
The government, on the state and national levels, are starting to realize that our financial literacy is not very high as a nation. We need to head back to the basics and change the trajectory of where we are headed as a nation, instead of the concept of money being strictly taught in the home. Opening up the conversation is just the beginning to helping everyone increase our financial literacy. For the kick start of our financial literacy training, we will cover a few basic principles that will truly help us build a solid foundation and jump-starting our success.
First I would like to talk about assets vs liabilities. In one of my favorite books, which I reread at least once a year, called Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, Robert shares a very simple definition of assets and liabilities. He states an asset is something that makes you money. While a liability is something that costs you money. He shared examples of both of these which I will pass onto you. An asset would be something like rental property/real estate, wages and investments. Something that generates income for you. Liabilities would be things like your house mortgage, car payments, student loans, and credit cards. Things that reduces your income. Both lists of examples could be broken down and made longer but I think you get the idea. I feel like the simplest definition makes it all black and white. Finance has a lot of definitions that are not very clear and can be confusing but looking at everything in this way makes it simple to see what is an asset and what is a liability. I am hoping to have each of you think about two questions before moving on. What assets do you have? And what liabilities do you have?