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Financial Literacy: What is it? Do you have it? Do you need it? Where do you get it?

Financial Literacy: What is it? Do you have it? Do you need it? Where do you get it? Do you get the absolute truth?

FEATURE ARTICLE, MONEY Magazine, Spring 2013

This week has been an interesting one from the perspective of gathering information on financial literacy. And there sure is an overwhelming amount of material devoted to the subject. Just Google it. I could have spent the entire week without sleep, food and water and still be crawling out from under the piles of available information. And from my perspective, I did not really get the answers to the questions with which I started this discussion from the information that I sourced. Maybe I have a slight bias.

And the amount of information from the government is unbelievable. It seems that their focus is to engage students, teachers, parents and so many other interested and informed parties, from Grade 4 through to Grade 12 and provide, through curriculum, information and answers to the questions that students have about money. I am pleased to attach a link from the government that will further inform you of the most recent advances in their quest to distribute financial knowledge to the general public commencing with the public education system.

Personally, I lost focus somewhere with all of the wordiness of their definitions on financial literacy and my eyes eventually glazed over and my brain started to experience a slight wooziness. Do proceed with caution.

Then there are those organisations and individuals that advocate and profess to teach the more mature student and general public the fundamental principles of financial knowledge. Desmond Jordan, President and CEO of the Financial Literacy Learning Centre whose slogan is to “Empower Investors Through Knowledge” and offers the Canadian Investment Course (CIC), is one such individual.

Desmond has a life-long dedication to education and financial literacy that makes him a fellow to follow and admire. Look out for more products, services and collaboration from this game changer and ambassador of good will, wealth and education. His business philosophy and get up and go personality challenges people and the status quo to do better and to reach those with the greatest needs quickly and efficiently.

A significant part of my own financial literacy came from the mentors that I followed when I ran my own financial planning practice. I have heard Michael Lee-Chin and others advise not to take (financial) advice from anyone who earns less money than you do. That sounds like great advice to start with. Get advice from people that know the financial business the best and prove it.

One of my favourite sources of financial information comes from Warren Buffett. One of the most successful investors and business personalities in the world, Warren candidly discusses the business of his financial interests in his “Letters to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders” which are published and available to the public on their website, for free! I find these letters to be well written and simple to understand. The hidden gems and pearls of wisdom are not hidden at all and if you read with an honest interest, you will find some of the best examples of financial literacy available anywhere. And you don’t have to be a politician or have an MBA to make sense.

Copyright 2013 Richard M. Kiernicki. All rights reserved.

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