Tennessee Bankers Shine the Spotlight on Financial Literacy | Sunday Stories
When most people hear the word “literacy” they think of it in terms of the ability to read and write. And rightly so. This is the classic definition of the word, and the subject receives a lot of attention in the educational world. The ability to read, write and understand a subject is the foundation on which lifelong learning is built and supported. Without it, a person’s opportunities in life are severely limited.
But literacy also means having skills or knowledge in a specific area, and when it comes to the skills that one can acquire in life, few are more important than learning and understanding the basics of finance. personal and establish a solid foundation on which to make sound. financial decisions.
That’s why the Tennessee Bankers Association worked with the state legislature in 2019 to establish Tennessee Financial Literacy Week.
The week, which ran from April 5-9 this year, included presentations in classrooms, senior citizen centers and other groups, as well as opportunities to support organizations that help develop the financial literacy.
It is a subject that is close to my heart. I have long been involved in efforts to improve financial literacy, not only in my work as a banker, but also through my involvement in the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission, which was established within the State Treasury Department. .
As this year’s TBA President, I am extremely proud of the work that banks statewide have done to help improve financial literacy in their communities. It’s something banks do throughout the year as one of the many ways they give back to the towns and cities they serve. But for one week each year, TBA and its member banks collectively focus and spotlight their efforts to raise awareness of the need for lifelong financial education.
Tennessee has already become one of only 23 states that require personal financial education as a condition of high school graduation, and that’s a recognition of its importance. But all of us who have the capacity and the opportunity to build good financial management skills need to be involved.
It can start by teaching young children the benefits of saving part of their allowance or donating money for something bigger later. Advice can be given to teens on how to handle paychecks for the first time. Young adults may need help learning about car loans and credit, the importance of starting a 401 (k), and saving for a down payment on their first home. Seniors must be alerted to developments in scams, especially on the internet and SMS.
These are some of the obvious groups that can benefit from a better understanding of money and finances, but the need for better financial literacy is not limited to them.
Even well-informed adults can feel overwhelmed when faced with unfamiliar financial situations. And business owners, especially those just starting out, often find themselves outside their areas of expertise when it comes to making sound financial decisions.
When it comes to your finances and protecting your hard-earned money, my advice is to look for ways to become smarter, more strategic, and more confident. Support efforts to improve financial literacy for those in need. And don’t hesitate to ask for help. Your local bankers can be valuable resources, not only for you personally, but also in preparing you to help others. This could be one of the best investments you will ever make.
Chris Holmes, president and CEO of Nashville-based FirstBank, is president of the Tennessee Bankers Association.