June 20, 2024

Network marketing. What a term to mention in any social circle or in a newspaper article. In my experience, it’s almost akin to dropping a bomb, looking at how most people would cringe and frantically look for an escape once they hear it. Well, let’s save that scenario for another article. But for now, let me just say thanks to network marketing, I have come to learn something relevant to life but not taught in schools: financial literacy.
Financial literacy is defined as “the education and understanding of knowing how money is made, spent, and saved, as well as the skills and ability to use financial resources to make decisions. These decisions include how to generate, invest, spend, and save money.”
What is its relevance to life? Annamaria Lusardi said, “Just as it was not possible to live in an industrialized society without print literacy – the ability to read and write – so it is not possible to live in today’s world without being financially literate. Financial literacy is an essential tool for anyone who wants to succeed in today’s society, make sound financial decisions, and ultimately, be a good citizen.”
Ever listened or read Chinkee Tan, Anthony Robbins, Robert Kiyosaki, among others? If you have, did you take what they had to teach seriously? Chances are, if you took them seriously, then you would have subjected yourself to a series of challenging, uncomfortable changes in life involving your lifestyle, decisions, priorities, beliefs, and mindset. That’s exactly what happened to me. Subscribing to such authors and speakers, valuing them as my “online mentors,” I have learned a lot of things that I haven’t heard of within the classroom. In their talks or books, they discussed how lack of financial literacy can actually drag people back to poverty despite having a good paying job, or an unexpected lucky win, or a one-time success at something else.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons why many professional workers remain in a state of just merely surviving, barely making it through with their monthly wages. Many are caught in the vicious cycle of wages and loans, banking on only their eight-hour job as a means to get through every day. As a result, their job starts “owning” them, enslaving them even to the point of having to drag themselves just to go to work. Why? That’s because they have loans to pay, or a luxurious lifestyle to satisfy, or some pride to feed. They’re on a hamster wheel, just breathing and running – day after day.
Chinkee Tan would always emphasize that it’s not about how much money we make. At the end of the day, it’s how we manage what we have to provide for our basic needs, how much we are able to save, and how we make our money grow and work for us – not us working for money. While it is true that everything is more expensive nowadays than in the past, we don’t have to curl if the blanket is short; we have another choice and that is to lengthen the blanket instead. We can find another source of income, start up a business, learn a skill and get paid for our services, or consider a change of career or job. Or we can let go of our daily cup of coffee or milk tea from a cafe or those items on sale from online shopping. Guys, these may seem small, harmless purchases but try multiplying those daily expenses by 365 days. We can actually save a lot, right? Well, as we always heard it said, “Kung gusto, maraming paraan; kung ayaw, maraming dahilan.”
Without question, schools help us develop our skills, giving us direction to what may be a good career for us. They ready us for employment and entrepreneurship, presenting us with so many possibilities and choices. After all, one of its goals is to yield graduates who would easily land jobs. I must say they do that pretty well. But even if these graduates get the best paying jobs in the world but aren’t financially literate, where would that leave them? So why don’t we teach about financial management, self-control, proper mindset towards money, and financial road mapping in schools? That way, graduates will be aware of the possibilities and choices that they have when it comes to their finances. And as they learn how to increase their assets and decrease their liabilities, they will eventually become assets of society. — Marivic Joan Milo-Laron