Thursday, 6 May 2010

Financial Literacy

I moaned sometime back about wishing I'd learned earlier to understand more about money, beyond how not to spend it. Since then, I notice that the politicians here in the run up to the election (today, in fact) are talking about financial education in schools. Also, the Freakonomics people have written on the topic. I got interested in their blog after having read The Undercover Economist, which I can recommend as entertaining as well as informative. I also noticed that the Get Rich Slowly blog does a series of articles on the subject in April. The list of issues he covers includes a lot that I know, and much that I will be catching up with.

I keep running into references to Warren Buffet's annual letters to shareholders which supposedly share all his financial wisdom. As I understand it, he makes his money buying whole companies rather than just stocks, so I don't know how applicable it might be, but if I could understand half of what he writes I'd think I was pretty smart.

There is also a lot about these days on blogs I read about the relationship between money and happiness. Despite what is commonly thought, unless one has very little money to start with, more money doesn't equate with more happiness. I would be lying if I said I wouldn't like to have more money, but my own experience of a frugal existence tells me I wouldn't be more happy. I would be happier, however, if I felt confident that I was making the most of what I do have, being a good steward as it were.

Until I get caught up with all this study, I'm thinking I shall take on board the financial advice given by Scott Adams in his Happiness Formula. At least I can understand that, and most of the Dilbert strips, without too much study.

Are there any sources of financial information that you would recommend for someone wishing to be better educated on the subject?


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics as well. Don't we all wish to learn more about money? There are many different schools of thought regarding how best to handle and invest. It all comes down to what feels right to you.

Rick Stone said...

Have you read anything by Dave Ramsey? He preaches about living within your means such as doing without that big screen TV that has to be bought on credit or driving a "beater" car instead of having to have a brand new one with all the payments.

Shelley said...

Rick - No, but I've heard about Dave Ramsey. He seems to have a system of cash in envelopes that works for a lot of people. I like paying my bills electronically, however, and you get discounts on things like utility bills if you set it up to be paid automatically. I've got the frugal part down pretty good, I think, having lived on about 40% of my income when I was working. I've not done the actual math since retiring, but I'm very careful so I'd guess it's about 50%. I should figure that out, shouldn't I? My issue about education is about investing, something I'd have been so much better off to have started a long time ago!

Jersey Mom - I was going to disagree about 'what feels right' but I suppose people do have a view about 'ethical investments' or how much risk and such.

Boywilli said...

I have tried to follow Shelley's frugality and put the results into some good investments. I was a bit riskier than Shelley likes to be but smoe of my stocks did ok and now I have the shiny car (nearly new) but without the payments

djbritton said...

Very interesting article thanks. I have been writing books and resources for children on teh subject of financial education -
A couple of sources for adults which you may enjoy are Robert Allen, particularly his book Multiple Streams of Income and Loral Langemeir.