WhyFI Matters. But why does WhyFI Matter? I have also been grappling with understanding this query. When people think about financial literacy they immediately think about personal finance. Well, I believe this is only partially true. There is so much more to financial literacy. Financial Literacy is not only about how we individually manage our money, but also how we learn from and interact with the world around us.
I am still learning but I think we can break it down into 3 big categories: Citizens of the World, Microeconomics & Macroeconomics, and Personal Finance.
Citizens of the World
Becoming citizens of the world by getting involved in, and learning about global issues, will help improve our financial literacy. The global issues WhyFI Matters advocates for are Gender Equality, Climate Change Action and Ethical Marketing.
WhyFI Matters promotes Gender Equality through bridging the gender pay gap. The pay gap influences a woman's interview performance, career progression, and retirement plans. It also influences her ability to earn and support her family. If we as a society take an initiative to get involved in bridging the gap we will improve our financial literacy.
From a consumer standpoint, if we are aware of Climate Change Action and Ethical Marketing, we can be conscious consumers who are kinder to our environment as well as to our wallets. From an entrepreneurial standpoint, understanding these two issues, we can make smarter decisions by creating sustainable products, developing loyal customers and saving money.
Micro and Macro Economics
This topic definitely sounds intimidating, and you are right in thinking that. After all, many AP level courses in high school and colleges teach this. To be honest I am also learning about this.
The dictionary says Microeconomics is the “part of economics concerned with single factors and the effects of individual decisions”. I think this means that microeconomics is focused on businesses and individuals and their behaviour on topics like supply and demand and competition. This is where entrepreneurship comes into play. It is safe to assume that having knowledge in this field will make future global crises impact on small businesses less tough to handle. For example imagine if you owned a business, and the COVID-19 pandemic hit you hard. For many people this change came as a shock, but understanding microeconomics, you will know what to do and how to react logically and in a calmer manner to the effects the pandemic has on your business.
On the other hand, the dictionary says that Macroeconomics is “the part of economics concerned with large-scale or general economic factors, such as interest rates and national productivity.” I think this deals with bigger factors such as a country’s economy as a whole. Words such as gross domestic product (GDP), unemployment rate, inflation and interest rates get tossed around in the air, but these are words we need to start comprehending. It is also safe to assume that if we understand the fundamentals of Macroeconomics we will be more aware of what is actually happening to our countries and economy as it relates to global crises.
Though it may seem boring, personal finance is a core part of financial literacy. Concepts such as budgeting, saving, needs vs wants, retirement accounts, credit cards etc. are important to learn in our tween/teenage years. Learning these concepts at an early age will allow for smarter and more logical financial decisions in our future.
Becoming a good citizen of the world, understanding the concepts of macro and micro economics, and improving our personal finance habits will help us become financially literate. Applying this knowledge in our day-to-day lives, will start us on our path to financial independence (FI). FI is a state where we will have the freedom to pursue our interests and careers not necessarily for the money, but because we are passionate about them. Also we will have the luxury of time to pursue our hobbies, contribute back to our community and hopefully we will not have to live in our parents’ basement.
This is WhyFI Matters!