Financial Literacy

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How to gain financial literacy

Your financial literacy is your ability to make financially smart decisions. You were not born financially smart or dumb; your financial knowledge or ignorance was developed over a period of time. I assume that you are not ignorant otherwise you would not be reading this. So without further ado, here are ways of gaining financial literacy.

Your own experience

There is no better teacher than your own experience but that does not mean you have to go ahead and make all of the mistakes it is possible to make. It is more a case of using your personal judgement based on your knowledge and the advice of others but you will make mistakes along the way; it is a part of the learning process. It is a matter of who are you going to accept advice from and whose advice to treat with a grain of salt.

An excellent way of gaining financial literacy is to register with one or more of the share market online platforms where you are able to buy and sell shares online. Only a minimal amount of money is needed to get involved. In New Zealand sharesies.nz is one such platform but is by no means the only one around. Other countries have similar such share trading platforms available.

Experience of others

The easy way to learn is from the mistakes of others. All you need to do is to keep your eyes open; many people do not do this and instead follow others like sheep. This is not necessarily the best way. In fact history has taught me that following the crowd is often the wrong way. A classic example is the share market when a stock is overvalued because so many people have jumped on the bandwagon and bought shares in that particular company because everyone else is doing it. It is young people without experience in the markets who are prone to this mistake.

It pays to go against the crowd; what this means is that you look for bargains in the markets whether it is gold, shares, property, and so forth. You do not have to experience what others are experiencing if you have the ability to assess what is a good investment and what is not.

Be prepared to listen to what the older generation has to say. Many of their opinions will be based on their own experience.

Books

Ignorance is no excuse as far as not being financially educated because your local library will stock books on finance. There are terrific books on finance. Some I recommend are, “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter. They have several other books which are recommended reading. “How to Be Rich & Happy” by Hans Jakobi, Australia’s wealth coach is another book I recommend. Hans also has several other books published, “Underground Knowledge” and “Due Diligence,” are two of them. “Making money made simple” written by Australian financial advisor Noel Whittaker is a good read. Mary Holm and Martin Hawes are other excellent financial authors.

The internet

There is a lot of information available online on finance and investing; a simple Google search will bring these up but like listening to your mates you have to use your own judgement when assessing the information from some sites and how it relates to your own personal situation. Martin Hawes and Mary Holm are both reputable advisors with good websites.

Newspapers

Most newspapers carry financial information and these are worth reading. Cut out articles that interest you; they make good reading in a year or so.


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