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financial literacy

| Swing Alpha on 7 Mar 2017 12:00 AM

Does the name Robert Kiyosaki ring a bell to you? He made a fortune with one masterful stroke. In 1997, he authored and published the book ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ and became a household hit. Mr. Kiyosaki gained immediate popularity from out of 207 written pages. Instantly, he gained a tremendous following from a multitude that was awestruck by his advocacies on financial independence and wealth building.

Rich Dad Poor Dad sold 26 million copies worldwide in 97 countries, written in 46 languages. This personal finance book is one among the few books that remained perched at the top of the New York Times bestseller list for 5 years. The book also ranks no. 9 in INC’s list of Top 10 Personal Finance Books of All Time.

RELEVANCE OF FINANCIAL LITERACY

Mr. Kiyosaki’s swarm of followers made Rich Dad Poor Dad their bible of personal finance. The book contained messages, written in parables, about financial freedom and building financial wealth. Suddenly there is hope for people to become rich when they apply the author’s financial principles in their pursuit.

However, there are critics who did not fall for the author’s advocacies. They found no meat at all even describing Kiyosaki’s ideas as pure gimmickry at best. The harsher ones inferred the book was simply mind-over-money tips about avoiding debts and other money woes. That approach created a stir that generated an epic phenomenon.

Whatever the opposing views are, one thing is certain, money makes the world go round and people go crazy over it.

What is financial literacy?

This article is not intended to embrace or question the teachings of Rich Dad Poor Dad but rather to emphasize the relevance of financial literacy and understand how money works in the economic structure of the world today.

The definition of financial literacy can be broken down into three components:

  • 1.   Acquiring knowledge and skills on managing financial resources;
  • 2.   Ability to use this knowledge and skills to manage financial resources effectively and efficiently for the long-term;
  • 3.   To have the discipline to practice those skills every day.

How important is financial literacy?

There should be no debate on the importance of financial education. We all look or even pray for financial answers whenever we are beset with financial anxiety.

Important lessons have to be learned so as not to reach the point where money becomes the problem. The teachings about preparing financially for the future are not exclusive to any author and individual. Your money is your business and therefore self-help books are merely guides and tools to help you ride out the turbulence. You take control of the navigation.

THE FINANCIAL COMMANDMENTS

  • Work on a budget
Without sounding repetitive, working on a budget still, makes a lot of difference. Make every dollar count. Account for each dollar spent and for what purpose.
  • Live within your means
Careless cash outlays, impulse buying and forward spending are not traits of a prudent individual. If you are truly concerned about your finances, you would rather save than spend. Content makes one rich already.
  • Use Credit Wisely
Making use of credit is inevitable and credit cards are the usual suspects. Besides the convenience of using the plastic, affordable payments can be extended over a period time. There lies the temptation to forward spend. But the moment your debt balance and bills spiral out of control, then you’re in for a tailspin.
  • Craft a financial plan
Financial planning is an urgent task. We often struggle predicting what the future holds. Do not wait until tomorrow. The best thing is to avoid procrastinating and get your financial plan done quickly.

WHERE FINANCE DISCIPLINE LEADS TO

What does it take to attain financial discipline? You might have a well-laid plan but unless there is the willingness to implement, it is worthless.

  • Plant your money seeds today for harvest in the future
Be like the industrious farmer. Plant your seeds today, toil and cultivate until harvest time. The farmer who sits around waiting for the fitting moment to plant will not reap the harvest. There is no perfect time or condition. Now is the “perfect opportunity.”
Everyone goes through the cycle of living from paycheck to paycheck. Leave no room for excuses. The more determined ones would follow the best financial counsel – save!

  • Thumb down credit
The personal finance commandments are intertwined. Failure in one will not improve your financial position. What aggravates the situation for many is the perpetual use of credit while simultaneously paying off debts. It becomes a vicious cycle.
Kick the habit, work on reducing your debt and diligently save what’s left. Integrate all the commandments in your lifestyle. The challenge is overwhelming but the rewards are ten-fold.

  • Taking It To The Next Level
After the conscientious efforts of accumulating savings, your predisposition shifts to building wealth. Things need to move forward from hereon. You are ready to level-up and assume an investor mindset.
An intelligent investor would always adhere to sound financial advice. Study the investment climate. Learn to be perceptive and watch out for the signs: where the wind blows, when the clouds are full or when the rain will pour out.  

CHART YOUR OWN FINANCIAL DESTINY

You will rarely come across a success story similar to Mr. Kiyosaki’s. He sold his ideas and made tons of fortune. Millions followed his practical financial tenets. Regretfully, his image as the financial guru was shattered after his corporate empire filed for bankruptcy in 2016. When a role model of wealth creation come tumbling down the hill, where do we go?

People are gullible when it comes to financial advice. We easily fall prey to the promise of profits, high returns and huge windfalls. That is why scams proliferate. The glitter of money is blinding that it compromises our ability to recognize the reliable from the deceptive.

In the final reckoning, the key is to cultivate financial discipline and be the author of your own success story. There are only two directions when you reach the fork, the path to prosperity or the road to misfortune. Take your pick.

3 Mar 2017 4:38 PM | Anonymous

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