Fiscal Affirmation #1: I feel good being fiscally intelligent.
I’ve pondered and read a bit about poverty over the past ten years. The problems and by-products of poverty are well-documented, but so are a few solutions.
One solution involves helping the poor gain access to “organized capital.” Organized capital is a phrase I encountered in a book called Think and Grow Rich. The book purports to be the result of a decades long pursuit of the methods of men and women who acquired great wealth. (Methods are learn-able!)
Organizations such as Grameen Bank and Heifer International have helped many escape poverty by helping them gain access to organized capital in the form of micro-loans and live-stock. The back-bone of these endeavors is helping the poor become fiscally literate. (A large portion of those using these organizations are poor women and their families.)
Having access to banking services and knowing how to use them are key components to creating a brighter fiscal future. I’ve heard it said, “It takes money to make money.” Organized capital provides financial backing to enable people to improve their fiscal futures.
Fiscal intelligence begins with understanding financial concepts such as income, expense, cash-flow, budget, interest rates, loans, credit, savings, checking, and more. (Expertise is often contained in specialized vocabulary.)
Financially illiterate people don’t know the terminology or the processes. It’s more likely that the wealthy and middle class know the terms, the processes, the strategies, and they teach them to their kids.
Learning things the hard way is sometimes very expensive: figuratively and literally. Web-sites such as Crown Financial Ministries is a great place to start. I’ve used their site to gain insight into debt, savings, and budgeting. They also recommend a personal finance tool called Mvelopes that I have used for several years.
Because I see myself as fiscally intelligent, I’m on the look-out for ways to become smarter. It’s a self-fulling prophecy that pays dividends.
It hasn’t hurt me that my dad was a bank manager, I’ve worked for an insurance company, and I’ve worked in data processing for a bank. I’ve bought cars, a house, and major appliances using credit. (I’ve also raised a family and seen three kids through college.)
It’s taken a while, but I’m getting smarter. Now I’m navigating my way towards retirement in a decade or so. Some might say I’m a bit late in that effort, but I’ve been busy. I think I’ve built a good foundation of knowledge (and wealth) which needs to be expanded. (More on that in later posts.)
I’ve gained a lot of fiscal intelligence, and I’m on my way to gaining more. How about you? Have you taken stock of your personal knowledge base regarding fiscal intelligence? What are your “liabilities”? Your “assets?” Your “business plan?”
Hmmm… good questions. Let’s get smart!