I am a huge advocate of financial literacy. I also think it is so important to teach these skills to kids as well as teenagers. Our children should know the value of money, how to avoid debt (or use it smartly), the power of investing for their future using compound interest and so much more. But if you did not learn these critical financial skills when you were young (as most people never did), it is never to late to learn and improve.
While it would be great for youth to start to learn what financial literacy is all about, the fact is that even adults can use our free financialliteracyhelp.com website and hopefully learn as well. No matter your age, I hope this website can help you (and your family) become more financially proficient, if not an expert! In fact, we really want younger people, even including students in elementary, middle or high school to improve their skills, as they have time on their side to save and invest.
Sadly there are very few elementary, middle or high schools that teach kids financial literacy. Most teenagers and college students lack these skills. In fact there are only 21 states that mandate it, and even those requirements are generally lacking. This a big reason that we, as adults, parents, or maybe even role-models need to teach the younger generation. And adults can teach themselves at the same time they are teaching their kids – it can be a family activity.
Why we provide this service
First of all, everything on the site is free. We do not sell any products or even retain visitors data. There are no membership or registration costs. So we are not providing this service to try to sell anything or any information…it is not about making money for us.
The reason I started financialliteracyhelp.com is because when I was a kid, beginning at around 12 years of age or so, my mom started to talk about the importance of investing, saving, and living within your means. She always focused on those topics, but once my dad left and abandoned his 6 kids, my mom was a single mother to multiple children. She had to somehow feed, house, and care for us, on her own, when my dad walked out. Millions of other single moms have to do the same. After my dad left, I think her focus on those key parts of financial literacy even increased.
My mom put a “bug” into my ear. I started to learn as much about investing as I could. I learned as much about good and bad debt, interest rates, and learned how the pursuit of material things can lead to financial ruin. While my mom was not “formally” educated in financial literacy, she had practical skills and she also did a very good job in learning some of the more technical aspects, such as investing.
I took what I learned from her. Using that knowledge, I bought my first stock around the age of 16, and made my first million dollars by my early 20s. I was investing as a teenager in high school. It made that money from investing and understanding the power of good debt (such as margin loans), and more importantly, compound interest.
After I made that money, I then proceeded to lose a good part of it during the dot.com crash. That is because how I invested was super risky (including using margin), and in hindsight it was not smart. But I learned from those mistakes and made all that money back and substantially more, and retired at age 40.
Without learning about finances, whether investing or about saving, leverage, compound interest, budgeting, and those financial literacy skills, I would not have had any success. Not only that, but I think if I did not learn about the important concepts of financial literacy at an early age from my mom, I would not have been financially successful either.
Sadly my mom has passed away. So I launched this site to try to help others learn. To stress how critical these various skills are. I created it partly in her memory, and partly because it has been something I have been interested doing for a long time; maybe her death gave me even more motivation to take this step to launch the website.
We have tons of information on financialliteracyhelp.com – everything from living debt free to working hard, investing, budgeting, living within means, using free non-profit credit counselors to help with debt, and not pursuing materialism. I learned those “concepts” early from my mom, and now I want to try to help others. Even if just a handful of people walk away from this site and implement so of what they have learned, and even if just a few people can gain more financial stability in their life, then this project has been worth it to me and us!
By Jon McNamara