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Morning Sun
  • Extension Connection — Enhance Your Financial Literacy and Capability

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  • When we think about the literacies needed in life, we might think about reading literacy, math literacy or science literacy. But, what about financial literacy?
    "(Financial literacy) is the knowledge and the skills you have to manage your money in ways that help you achieve your goals," said Elizabeth Kiss, assistant professor in the College of Human Ecology at Kansas State University and family resource management specialist for K-State Research and Extension.
    Kiss said another concept that takes financial literacy a step further is financial capability.
    "Many of us have financial knowledge and skills, but our behavior doesn't necessarily reflect that," she said. "Financial capability is the behaviors that go along with achieving our financial goals."
    My Money Five is a set of principles Kiss recommends to keep in mind as people make daily financial decisions and set goals for the future. The five principles include: earn, save and invest, protect, spend and borrow. These principles can be used at any age, but especially for young adults who are just beginning their careers.
    1. Earn
    "Earning is at the root of our money management," Kiss said. "Without income, we have little to manage." People should know their net earnings, she said. One of the reasons people pursue higher education is to increase their earning power.
    2. Save and invest
    "College education is an investment with the expectation of some sort of return," Kiss said.
    3. Protect
    People who protect their assets are protecting against risk, she said. This means obtaining insurance, such as car insurance, homeowner's or renter's insurance, and health insurance, for example.
    4. Spend
    Spend less than you earn, Kiss said. It helps if people know their short-term, medium-term and long-term financial goals and determine if they are spending in ways to reach those goals.
    5. Borrow
    Most people have to borrow money at times and use credit cards, Kiss said. Managing the borrowing, not taking out too much and recognizing the requirement to pay it back is important. Student loans are a good example of borrowing just the amount needed.
    For more information, visit www.moneysmartkansas.org and www.mymoney.gov. For additional information, contact the Wildcat Extension District, Crawford County, 620-724-8233, Labette County, 620-784-5337, Montgomery County, 620-331-2690, Pittsburg Office, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education (EFNEP), 620-232-1930.

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