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Are you Financially Literate?

When I look in the mirror I have to ask myself if I am financially empowered and literate?

Photo of Darrick Hildman
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When I see an issue or a challenge such as this my mind begins to swarm with questions. What is financial literacy? What do we mean by empowerment? 

Am I financially literate or empowered?

Gosh, my wife and I work to bring in income, but we still spend too much, eat out too often and are in too much debt. I am embarrassed to say, don't have a great retirement, I don't invest, and our money future is foggy.

I know the basics to budgeting and I don't fear money, but I don't necessarily feel empowered by it. My thoughts and beliefs around money seem blurry and unclear.

At the same time I have some books on the shelf about personal finance, I have owned a small business and I know there are plenty of resources out there. 

I feel like maybe I need a solid philosophy about money. 

So no, I don't think I am financially literate or necessarily empowered. 

Are you financially literate and empowered? What do financial literacy and empowerment mean to you? 

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Photo of Joe Silva

Darrick - good questions, I appreciate the simplicity of this post.

Financial literacy is a relevant term. It's all based on the person and their success navigating the economy they are living in. To use your personal examples; it seems like you understand where you are doing alright and where you are coming up short. To me that's a good start. If you were ignorant to your own immediate financial needs and not already a little self-aware about them, perhaps then there would be evidence that you are a bit lost...

Empowerment is what brings you to your "ah ha!" moment. This is tricky stuff. I believe empowerment comes from a thoughtful support system, or platform, or environment that focuses on making important information accessible and the interaction of accessing it easy and intuitive. I also believe we do not empower others, and that individuals can only empower themselves. So the question in this design challenge, for me!, becomes, "what information do we need to know about the intricacies of a community's system so that we can redesign, or make adjustments so that we can help people empower themselves?"

Photo of Darrick Hildman

I think you are right, it is relative to the context of the person's life.

I also think that you are right that folks can not just be told, but they have to find their own empowerment.

What do we need to know about the a communities system so that we can help it to help people empower themselves? This is a good question and goes beyond a financial situation. I teach at a community college and I ponder this very question. Students who are not interested or motivated will not learn, so how can I create a learning space that helps them to empower themselves to learn? Therapists work on this for their patients.

So Joe, One, are you financially literate and empowered? Two, have you seen an empowering community?

Photo of Shane Zhao

Great exchanges of provocations here! Darrick, on the topic of understanding community systems, you might be interested to join in on the conversations in this post: https://openideo.com/challenge/financial-empowerment-challenge/research/alternative-ways-for-financial-empowerment/comments#all-comments Joe's been raising some great points about helping communities empower themselves in the comments section.

Also, here's another great thread on the topic of how might we rethink learning opportunities to empower students. Collaboration loves company! https://openideo.com/challenge/financial-empowerment-challenge/research/teaching-students-to-ask-their-own-questions