Understanding the Need For Financial Education (Or Growing Old and Poor on Lottery Tickets)

In today’s world of advanced technology there is no shortage of information on just about any subject or topic you want to explore. Hard copy magazines can be bought in any supermarket or news agency on any topic from ‘how to plant tomatoes’ to ‘how to build an aero plane’. The internet is now the most used piece of technology for sourcing information with over 1.6 billion users worldwide. If it’s not on the internet then it hasn’t been discovered yet.

For most of us financial freedom and prosperity are challenges that we all seek in our lifetime. It’s the reason why so many of us spend money on gambling and lotto around the world in the hope of achieving that dream without the pain and effort needed to get there under our own steam – and yes, I’m guilty too of trying to fast track my way to wealth and glory. In fact, according to an unverified article found on the internet $224.3 billion was spent on legal lotteries throughout the world in 2007. $166 billion of that figure was purchased online. I think that’s called something like wealth redistribution. The fact is only a few out of millions get to share in the wealth. The rest of us will grow old and poor buying lottery tickets. This emphasizes the need for financial education.

Saving for retirement and enjoying a more prosperous lifestyle along the way is not impossible to achieve but it does require an understanding of the need for financial education. As a 50 something year old who has spent a lifetime in financial services (I like to call it salt and pepper experience!) I still come across too many examples of people who do not understand the need for financial education. Only the other day I was speaking with a 21 year old apprentice carpenter who believed that superannuation (retirement savings) was an imposed burden on his earning capacity and belonged to the ‘government’ until he retired. This is a common belief by many young people today and surely points to the failure of governments and older generations to pass on and educate people about the need for financial education.

The need for financial education is not limited to just the younger generations either. It’s why more than 95% of the currently retiring baby boomer generation will retire on less income needed to support a comfortable lifestyle. With the advances in technology and information, particularly the internet, everyone has the opportunity to become financially educated. That’s why I called my blog ‘Wealth Happens Online’. The internet is not only a place where you can learn about every aspect of financial education from saving for retirement, investing in shares/managed funds, property investment, a variety of alternative investments and business opportunities but it’s also a place where you can source information on the need for financial education.

Understanding the need (or what your goals are) is the first step to meeting the challenge to financial freedom and prosperity. Since the GFC hit, the world has become wary of financial advisers and others who give advice on investments. If you are compelled to use the services of a financial adviser rather than sourcing your own information on the internet then look for an adviser who understands the need for financial education before ‘selling’ you on investments. No matter what your age, understanding the need for financial education is the safest and surest way to financial freedom and prosperity. The alternative is to grow old and poor on lottery tickets.