Financial literacy is one of the most important life lessons that isn’t taught in the traditional schooling system.
The first question to financial literacy is asking, what’s your relationship with money?
There are many money blocks preventing us from achieving financial freedom or becoming financial literate.
For example, believing that money is the root of evil, or rich people are evil are some money blocks we hear from the church and they prevent us from becoming financial literate.
If you believe you will go to hell when you have a lot of money, do you think you can ever have a good relationship with money?
It’s important for us to normalise how we speak about money in front of our kids.
Because poor money management starts with checking parents’ behaviour.
Did you grow up in a family where your father splurged his income on alcohol when your stay at home mum cried or begged for food?
It’s easy for you to associate money with waste and war if you grew up in such a home.
Also, financial literacy isn’t about growing savings, investing or making money alone but about improving our money mindset.
You may think that you are financially literate until circumstances prove you are not.
Do you have a better understanding of how money works? The ins and outs?
It is important to surf the seas of your financial life to learn how money works.
Improving your financial literacy skills should be a top priority for anyone who wants to understand various financial areas including topics related to personal finance, investment and money borrowing in a better way.
There are so many ways you can improve your financial literacy skills.
Improving financial literacy skills is important if you want to achieve financial confidence, independence and freedom.
In this article, we will look into how we can improve our financial literacy skills every day.
NOTE: We didn’t come on this earth to dispel money or financial education.
Money is a medium of exchange and a resource used for making our lives better.
Ask yourself, if you can live without money, why do you salivate at the rich neighbour’s house?
Why don’t you accept that money is an important resource/tool which we MUST have to make our worlds go smoother or make a difference?
If you didn’t care so much about money, why do you have a job?
Don’t get deceived lack of money is the root cause of all evil.
Normalise money education and financial education.
You talk badly about money, how can you have enough?
Money is an energy and like attracts like.
Learn about how to make money, how to grow your money and importantly, make money work for you.
What’s Financial Literacy?
Financial Literacy is understanding the basic concept of saving, investing and debt management.
Understanding financial literacy helps you gain financial freedom and in turn, you form a good relationship with money and yourself.
Financial Literacy is also understanding yourself.
What are the Key Components of Financial Literacy?
The key components of financial literacy are earning, spending, saving and investing.
20 Ways to Improve Financial Literacy
Here are some ways that you can use to improve your financial literacy today.
- Start now
If you want to start improving your financial literacy skills, why wait any longer?
It doesn’t matter if you have made a couple of financial mistakes, anyone has the chance to improve their financial literacy as early as now.
If you feel that there is an area in financial literacy that you are lacking, you can go out and look for knowledge that will help you better address your financial issues.
Financial literacy encompasses a wide range of topics, including savings and investments, retirement, real estate, insurance, taxes etc.
If you are just starting out with financial literacy, you have to know the fundamentals before you dive into deeper more complex financial literacy skills.
- Read newspapers and magazines
If you are a reader of books, why don’t you try reading financial newspapers and magazines?
This is a great way to improve your financial literacy.
When you are picking out the newspapers and magazines to read, you have to go for those that are business based or read article columns that talk about finance.
I would advise you to invest in both local and global papers if you want a broader view of financial matters.
When you read the daily newspapers and magazines, you will be able to keep up with the economic changes and trends and you will improve your financial literacy this way.
An example of a newspaper that will improve your financial literacy includes the Daily Nation’s “Business Daily” in Kenya.
- Search the internet
The Internet is home to many financial resources that you can use to improve your financial literacy.
Matter of factly, it is one of the cheapest ways to improve your financial literacy because the information is literally out there for free.
There are many online sources you can choose from and tutorial content on how to improve your financial literacy.
Moreover, most cable news networks have websites that have a finance tab that will keep their viewers and readers posted about financial matters.
- Take a financial literacy class/course
Financial literacy is a very important life lesson that is sadly not taught in the traditional schooling system.
If you want to understand how money works, then you have to invest your time into gaining some financial literacy skills and improving your financial literacy.
Start with the basics and gain the necessary knowledge and understanding of various topics in personal finance such as saving and investments.
Get into the habit of familiarising yourself with these financial matters if you want to improve your financial literacy.
- Listen to money podcasts and radio talk shows
With the increase in the popularity of podcasts, many financial advisors and experts are starting their own podcasts to offer financial advice to listeners.
It is no doubt that podcasts are a very reliable and convenient way to keep up to date with financial information even when you are running a busy schedule.
You can listen to a podcast on your way to work or when doing your house chores, thereby improving your financial literacy at any given time and day.
Radio talk shows are a great way to receive financial advice and ask questions about any financial dilemma you are facing.
Be careful however and make sure that this information is coming from credible sources.
If you are not sure, always double-check the information given.
- Use social media
The rise of social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter has provided an easy opportunity for people to link up, talk about financial matters, share financial information and improve financial literacy.
For example, with LinkedIn, you have the chance to connect with credible financial experts who you can hire to help improve your financial literacy.
With Facebook and Twitter, you can join group chats of like-minded people and talk about personal finance matters or observe the global market of investment tools like cryptocurrencies.
Social media will improve your financial literacy when you follow the right audience.
- Purchase financial tools
Since you will be learning about budgeting, savings, interest rates etc in financial literacy, it is important that you equip yourself with the necessary financial tools to facilitate your learning process.
You may think that you only need a calculator for school, while it may come in handy when you are making your budget or calculating the interest rates on the debts you have.
Financial tools are an efficient way to improve financial literacy because they are fast, accurate and reliable.
Some of the financial tools you can invest in include a financial calculator and a financial dictionary.
- Build a financial plan
A financial plan is a statement that evaluates your current financial situation and long term monetary goals as well as the methods you are going to use to achieve these goals.
If you want to improve financial literacy, then you have to have a financial plan.
There is no in-between.
Now that you want to become more financially literate, I’ll tell you one thing: you cannot afford to be spontaneous with your income.
You need to have a plan on how you are going to use your current income in relation to your long term financial goals.
You also have to look for strategies that will help you live up to your financial goals and build up your millions over time.
These strategies are what will improve your financial literacy.
Don’t forget to actively revisit, review and update your financial plan when you acquire new financial literacy skills.
- Set your financial goals
This is another way to improve financial literacy today.
If you do not have any goals with your money, you will be exhausting all your income before the next month’s salary because you do not have something tangible you can put your money into.
You have to establish your money goals if you want to have a clear financial path.
What goals do you want to achieve with your money?
Is it to invest your money?
If yes, how much money do you want to save to work towards this goal?
How and where do you want to invest your money to get high returns?
Do you want to invest in the long or short term?
When you have money goals, it is easier to improve financial literacy because you will know what goals are worth it and those which aren’t.
Always remember, that your financial goals must be smart, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-sensitive.
- Focus on the long term
When you are out to improve financial literacy, always do it for the long haul.
We have people who only acquire financial literacy for a particular topic and then stop learning once they have “achieved” their goal.
Do not be like them.
Once you take on this journey, always keep on learning.
There are new terms, trends and changes that happen every day in the financial sector so you need to know that the reason you are improving financial literacy is so that it can be of benefit to you in the long term.
Soak up as much information as you can now so that when you grow older, you are wiser.
- Find an accountability partner
An accountability partner is someone who is going to be looking into your financial decisions or actions and you are expected to explain to them what your stand is and ask you your progress.
When you start your journey to improve financial literacy and you want to take an online course to facilitate that, an accountability partner will make sure that you complete all your coursework and that you can apply what you have learnt to your financial habits and decisions.
Having an accountability partner is a good way to improve financial literacy because you always know there is someone you have to report to.
- Work with professionals
If you want to improve financial literacy, do not work alone.
Always professional financial advice.
This is a good practice habit that you should adopt.
Financial literates understand the importance of teamwork.
You cannot do everything alone.
There is so much to learn in the world of finance and if you can find a reliable and credible person who can take you through this journey, then you are in luck.
Seek financial advice from a financial advisor or have an accountant who is going to help you with your books of account.
You have to find trustworthy people who are going to propel you towards achieving your goal of improving financial literacy.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people
There’s someone who said that you are the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with.
Now, look at your friends. In terms of finances, who is financially literate?
Who is responsible for their money? What is their overall money mindset?
What are their financial habits?
If none of them is where you want to be, then you can minimise the time you spend with them or change your group of friends.
Surround yourself with like-minded people who share the same financial values and want to improve financial literacy.
These people are the ones who are going to propel you towards achieving your financial goals.
- Evaluate your relationship with money
What is your overall relationship with money?
Do you love or hate money?
Is your relationship with money holding you back? Part of improving financial literacy dictates that we have to have a healthy relationship with money.
Money is very important in our lives and that is all they will be talking about in financial literacy. Ask yourself: how do you feel about money?
The first three emotions that pop up when you ask yourself this question are probably where you are at when it comes to money.
You have to learn to improve your relationship with money if you want to improve financial literacy.
- Break down your goals into actions
It is one thing to set your financial goals and it is a whole nother thing to work towards these goals with actionable steps.
When you are writing your financial goals, you also have to include the steps that you are going to take to achieve these goals.
For example, if your financial goal is to improve financial literacy, your actionable step would be to read a financial book every month, listen to a podcast daily, calculate your finances or read a business article.
These actionable steps are what will drive you closer to improving financial literacy.
- Read government resources
The Kenyan government has given reports about the country’s economy and financial standing.
You should take advantage of such information and use that before you make any investment decision.
Although no efforts have been put into place by the government to introduce financial literacy in the traditional schooling system, these resources should give you a good head start in your journey to improve financial literacy.
People who are financially literate always want to stay ahead of the country’s business reports by using these government resources.
- Break the consumer mentality
A consumer mentality is a mindset that goods and services are only available to satisfy your needs.
Therefore, a consumer will make based on the expectations that the product or service they bought will meet their needs.
A lot of us have this consumer mentality without even realising it.
If you want to improve financial literacy, you need to break this consumer mentality.
Start focusing on ways to understand the hidden cost of each item you purchase.
You will be surprised by the results.
This in-depth look at the purchasing process is one way to improve financial literacy.
You can break the cycle of the consumer mentality by re-evaluating yourself, testing your limits and understanding your weakness. You will improve your financial literacy skills this way.
- Catch business news and TV shows
This is another great way to improve financial literacy.
For those who look to watch TV shows and catch the 7 or 9 pm news, you can improve financial literacy by following your favourite TV programs that give content about financial matters.
Some of these TV shows are the local business news or the global business news like CNBC TV and Fox Business, which are my favourite.
You have to be careful with TV programs that sell get-rich-quick schemes because they are misleading.
Always do your research on any financial information that you do not trust.
- Subscribe to financial newsletters and magazines
If you are a reader, you can subscribe to free financial newsletters in your mailbox from your blog sites of choice.
Before you subscribe to these newsletters, you have to make sure that they are credible and well-trusted sources that can give you financial advice and improve financial literacy.
As usual, do not forget to cross-check the financial information you receive online if you are in doubt.
- Start a savings and investment club
Many beginner investors shy away from investing in certain investment areas because they lack the knowledge and skills.
It is difficult to start investing in something you don’t know about.
While there are many evocative materials out there to help you get started, sometimes it is easier to invest with friends or a group of like-minded people.
What you can do is that you select an investment field and dedicate yourself to learning about it until you start yielding returns.
This will improve financial literacy.
How to Improve Financial Literacy for Students in Kenya
The following are ways to improve financial literacy for students in Kenya and they include:
- Teach about money from an early age
- Encourage your kids to have a budget when going to the supermarket. No encouragement of impulse buying.
- Normalise productivity – get a job or start your business.
- Teach about money mindset and how it affects students from an early age.
- Talk about money blocks and how money blocks can prevent one from achieving financial freedom.
- Tell Sunday school teachers to STOP teaching kids that money is the root of all evil. While it’s true that greed is the root of all evil; poverty and stealing are the results of evil brought by lack of money.
- Let students have a session about money – ask students what and why they believe money is crucial. Go beyond the surface discussion in the classroom.
If you want to learn about financial literacy, then, it improves you are ready to change not just your finances but your life.
Financial literacy is a very important topic that everyone needs to know.
I wish it was a bigger focus in the school systems.
If you want to achieve financial success, you must gain and improve your financial literacy skills so that you can manage your money better and achieve financial freedom.
That is the goal, right?
Improving financial literacy is quite simple.
You just have to take in the tips and take action to improve.
Remember, knowledge is power and if you are financially literate, you can avoid a lot of money mistakes that people make.
Be prepared to learn something new every day if you want to improve financial literacy.
It is going to be a gradual process, but you will get to where you want to be eventually.
Are you fighting to improve your financial literacy?
Why do you want to improve your financial literacy so bad?
Do you believe kids MUST be taught about finances in school?