Business & Finance #1: Are you literate?

Since the late part of 2016 financial management has become high on my priorities list. After a year of coasting after graduation, I was broke and worse, in debt – and still am. I found my self constantly stressed and working a lot for very little returns. I could see myself quickly spiralling out of control and after a short break-down period of self-pity I finally got my shit together and decided I needed to be more proactive about my situation.

I started small by trying to get a better understanding of why I was struggling. So I read articles online about “how to manage debt” and “how to make extra income”. Then I started implementing some of the advice I read; searching for freelance work I could do, selling off things I didn’t need. Eventually I even started budgeting. Kind of. It was very slow beginnings but I got better with time and around February of this year 2017 I really felt like I was doing better. I was for a while, because at least through budgeting I was getting better at holding myself accountable for every purchase, big or small, and feeling myself becoming more of a responsible spender. However as time went on and I came to the conclusion that I simply was not earning enough to cover my expenses, it became harder and harder to stay motivated. I’ve since stopped being so rigorous with my budgeting and tracking.

However, this doesn’t mean I’ve reverted back to being an irresponsible spender (although old habits do die hard) but for the most part, I’ve tried to remain conscious of how much I’m spending and what I’m spending it on. Just without the stress of wondering how I’m going to make enough money to cover one expense or the other. In that same period of time I’ve also – by god’s grace – managed to get myself a better job, which should provide me with more of a stable income. So I do plan to soon continue practicing my money logging and budgeting skills.

I share this story about myself because it aligns with somthing I’ve wanted to address here on Afreecadotco but couldn’t figure out how. Namely, the importance of financial literacy. Thanks to Sarah and Lauren, of The Financial Diet (they have a YouTube channel too), I feel more empowered not only to be better with my finances but to search for answers to the things I’m unsure about. So as I’m still learning, it got me thinking about how it is that we become financially literate in general.

The Wikipedia definition of Financial literacy is, the ability to understand how money works in the world: how someone manages to earn or make it, how that person manages it, how he/she invests it (turn it into more) and how that person donates it to help others.

Of course, put like that, it is easy to see that to be financially literate is important to anyone so that they might survive in our money fuelled world but it is in Africa and the rest of the third world that its importance is really highlighted.

Sufficit to say less education, smaller likelyhood of financial literacy, which contributes to poorer economies.
Again considering money literacy is important to all, third world or not, and that even here in the u.k. and the u.s. there are people struggling to gain control of their own financial situations, the question becomes where does one gain financial literacy?

In a bid to find out I started asking everyone I knew about where they think they learn financial literacy and whether or not they think they are literate at all in finances. The answers I got led me to the next question which was: Why is it that some of us seem naturally more adept with money than others? Is it an intrinsic part of someone, coded into their genetics, or is it the environment they were nurtured in and how they were introduced to financial matters.

In all honesty I am no closer to knowing the exact answer, but it seems quite logical that it will probably boil down to a combination of both. Where some of us probably aren’t so naturally inclined to manage our money properly, it is even more important that measures be put in place to ensure the futures of individuals, generations and economies.

So watch out for future posts covering projects, thoughts and discussions on how we move forward.

As always I want to be clear that although Afreeca’s mission is A free Africa, the topics that are covered and discussed are intended to help anyone that might encounter them. It is through sharing and gaining knowledge that we become empowered. Let’s all become financially literate!


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