Whether it be the need to develop an efficient budget or build good credit, financial literacy could help people manage money. But some may face issues with obtaining this knowledge.
According to WalletHub, Texas was ranked as the 25th most financially literate state. Results for the rankings, which consists of all 50 states and Washington D.C., were obtained through the analysis of financial-education programs and consumer spending.
Whether one feels financial literacy in Texas should improve or not, there are a variety of ways one who is not comfortable with their finances can overcome the learning curve of financial planning.
DeAndre Geels, a junior personal financial planning major from Sioux Center, Iowa, and student assistant at Tech Red to Black Peer Financial Coaching, said financial literacy is important for college students, as this marks a time in one’s life when he or she is becoming more independent.
“Beyond college life, no one is going to hold our hand and help us through every roadblock we might have,” he said. “It’s important to prepare ourselves for this time of independence by knowing how to manage our finances and certain topics.”
Although students have access to financial education resources at Tech, whether it be Red to Black or PFP classes, Geels said sometimes people need to make an effort to do their own research.
“It’s also important for people to self-learn this kind of stuff,” he said. “There’s a lot of websites that people can use. Investopedia is a good way to learn things with a general amount of knowledge.”
Whether it be reading more about finances or googling questions to get the proper advice, Geels said there are different ways one can improve their financial literacy. With the current state of education, he said people need to learn about finances.
“People can definitely be better with no doubt,” Geels said. “Our current education system doesn’t strive to focus on financial literacy as one of the main topics in school, so that leaves it up to the individual. How they learn it is up to them, how they manage their finances is up to them.”
Depending on a person’s approach to learning how to manage their money, one may face a variety of obstacles.
Christopher Crouch, professor and Ph.D. candidate in Tech Personal Financial Planning, said being financially literate is important, as people will be dealing with money all their life. He said when one is not financially literate and trying to manage their finances themselves, the stress can take advantage of them.
“If you’re overwhelmed or if you don’t understand what you’re doing, it’s really easy to get yourself in a hole where you’re borrowing to cover your costs, and you end up having to borrow more,” Crouch said. “You just dig a deep pit, basically where all your money that you’re making is going to make those interest payments.”
For people in this situation, Crouch said one can get so far behind that he or she may feel there is no solution.
“I know it can be really terrifying to get into that situation,” he said.
Regardless of the issues one may face because of the lack of financial literacy, Crouch said one should not only understand finances.
“It’s all about applying it,” he said. “They have the knowledge; they’re just not applying it.”
Even though some financial knowledge may be common sense for most people, Crouch said it is up to people to continually implement their education to manage their money and not get overwhelmed.
Despite what people need to know about finances, Crouch said he wants to see people in Texas get better at understanding how to use their money. The want for financial education in local institutions needs to be acknowledged.
“There’s a big push to kind of bring this along through certain universities,” Crouch said. “But we really need a bigger push, a statewide push.”
Hunter Coday, junior PFP major from Royse City and Red to Black student assistant, said it is unfortunate financial skills are not taught a lot in high school.
“I honestly think it should be a class you take in high school,” he said. “You have to have money to live and pay for things, and you need to know how to manage that money, so you can actually do things in life.”
With the lack of financial literacy, Coday said issues could arise among people, especially college students.
“There’s a lot of people who don’t really know anything about this,” he said. “It can be overwhelming and cause a lot of stress, especially for college students.”
Whether it be school and work-related stress or the difficulty some may face when learning about finances, Coday said students can encounter obstacles when pursuing financial literacy. For Tech students dedicated to building money management knowledge, he said Tech offers more than just financial coaching.
“Really it just teaches you those bare, essential skills you need to know,” Coday said regarding PFP intro courses any Tech student can take. “I would say that’s a great opportunity as well while you’re here at Tech.”
Whether it be taking part in local finance courses or making an effort to teach oneself through online sources, financial literacy could be achieved through a variety of ways.
“A lot of it, currently, is self-discipline and up to the individual to decide for themselves if they want to be financially literate or not,” Geels said. “It’s something all of us are going to have to deal with. There’s no escaping money.”