Financial literacy is defined as “the possession of the set of skills and knowledge that allows an individual to make informed and effective decisions with all of their financial resources. Raising interest in personal finance is now a focus of state-run programs in countries including Australia, Canada, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom,” by the Financial Literacy and Education Commission, USA and the Ontario Ministry of Education.
Furthering an individual’s earning capabilities Financial Literacy adds their ability to efficiently wield their earnings to grow them substantially, building wealth.
Making A Mark
Financial literacy initiatives made their way to the high tables in the early 2000s. Since then it has mildly surfaced in occasional campaigns but mostly slipped underneath more important files.
In the preceding decades, most transactions were made by cash and cheques. However, millennial progression brought about a variety of financial products and electronic fund transfers. A 2019 survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco revealed that only 22% of transactions involved cash with a majority inclined towards debit cards at 42% and 29% favoring credit cards.
Marching into the recent decades mandated time and money management. Meticulous investment of wealth has acquired a separate department and a branch of learning. Until now it needs to seep down to a school-level curriculum.
An Advocate for the Cause
Mankind is hero-centric. It has never crossed a milestone before somebody took to a podium to drive the sensibility or lost themselves to the cause.
Aarika Rhodes, an elementary school teacher aspiring representative of California’s 30th Congressional District in 2022, stands for upgraded policy-ing to accommodate alternative finances and their increasing yields. Her narrative is inspiring and unfolds how financial literacy could build a healthier economy – an economy that is built on a profound knowledge of wealth, distribution, and investment.
Support for Bitcoin, Politically
In a recent podcast with Bitcoin Magazine, Rhodes shares her bitcoin story. Bitcoin wasn’t initially a part of her campaign even though she was in cognizance of the whole concept. It was her opponent Brad Sherman’d vehement opposition to it and a fateful tweet from Dennis Portman that got her drawn to the huge void that could be filled with acceptance of the digital currency.
Rhodes stresses being in touch with her constituents. And the youth in her constituents are in favor of bitcoin. She narrates how single mothers have their investments in bitcoin. She goes on to explain how a young mother, on the verge of homelessness, survives because of her early purchases of bitcoin. The youth choose bitcoin going against the conservative theories. A majority of the people she’s set to represent have benefitted from holding on to bitcoin.
A straight ban on such prospects, as suggested by Sherman, indicates heavy financial loss on this community that has tasted gains from holding the asset.
Rhodes is appalled by the attempts made to stifle innovation as large and impactful as bitcoin. She equates the ban on bitcoin to closure on internet facilities.
Promoting Financial Literacy, Academically
Rhodes’ take on bitcoin and financial literacy are that one need not necessarily own them but must know how they work. Asked to comment on financial literacy in the school curriculum being a teacher, herself, she responds, “It’s not being taught. It’s not a priority.”
“We teach these really broad topics but we don’t really do a deep dive into personal finance,” she adds before delving into some of the most grievous problems faced by the average youth of the country.
“It means we’re having kids graduate from high school going to college where now they’re targets for predatory lending and it puts them in debt immediately,” she continues.
“And now they’re working really hard to stay afloat if they can even get a flow. That to me is injustice in and of itself,” she trails.
Not stopping at the historical flaw in an educational system that keeps students entering adulthood naive about one of the most important aspects of the age, which encompasses personal finance, she proposes the steps for redressal.
“Imagine if we made sure kids had a deep, profound understanding of personal finance in a way that would set them up for their future that’s just a win!”
“We would have a healthier economy, people would be able to make really wise investments. They would understand the value of homeownership.”
She goes on to detail her plans that eclipse understanding the credit system, managing credit cards, fees, interest rates, compound interest, loans, and retirement planning.
She concludes by sharing her experience with teaching second-grade students the value of holding on to money and having it grow. She says the same principle may be applied to age-appropriate students. Her proposition does not only teach students to grow their money but shows them how it’s done through a simple exercise.
“… people should be able to decide what’s best for them. That is why financial literacy is imperative,” accurately sums up Rhodes.