Financial survival: Margaret Qualley plays Alex, a young mother who escapes an abusive relationship and struggles to make ends meet in the Netflix series ‘Maid,’ a story based on the life of author Stephanie Land ( Photography by Netflix)

Financial literacy: what is your first reaction when you see these two words? At a minimum, condescendingly, if you have no financial knowledge, you should be classified as illiterate.

I never accept that label on anyone, and neither should you.

No one can trade life today without a basic innate understanding of how money and commerce intersect to aid in the management of daily life. Otherwise, how could we work, earn, consume, save, raise a family and just carry on?

As uncomfortable as it may sound, the financial literacy moniker is meant to convey the serious mission intent that is now increasingly being put forward by thousands of organizations and national governments.

What does financial literacy really mean?

Solving financial problems?

Financial improvement?

Financial resilience?

Financial survival?

Financial planning?

Financial well-being is the best description from my point of view.

FinLit (acronym for financial literacy) has become the new buzzword in financial and social media expositions all over the world; however, sometimes the content and orientation may seem redundant or generic.

So what we are really talking about is improving your financial knowledge in order to become financially well.

• Motivating reasons to learn more about how finance works

• Implement references and sources to find relevant thematic help

• Practice in problem solving illustrating financially precarious cases,

• Then gain the knowledge and confidence to use real application processes for individual and family benefits.

Was it something we talked about generations ago? Probably not.

Monetary economy

Previous generations managed in an economy heavily concentrated in cash.

Either you had the money or you didn’t.

Families received cash salaries, saved in cookie jars, had marked budget envelopes for various bills, or withdrew money from a bank account in little brown envelopes – then, each envelope went around town , queuing with cash to pay each Monthly bill. Your author is old enough to remember being paid, at a temporary part-time job, in cash in a small brown envelope.

Hilarious to think about now. If you lost your money – so sad, so be it.

Cash-strapped families were out of luck, although old-fashioned barter sometimes saved the day.

Yes, charge credit accounts existed on an individual merchant-by-merchant basis, but were not backed by any retail bank or local or global credit card issuer.

Businesses needed cash, often promoting cash sales by cutting prices.

The era of credit cards: buy on credit, you have to!

You never own a purchase on credit until you have paid off the credit card.

The temptation to buy, too often, indiscriminately in every way – on credit – and pay later, in my view, has changed everything. People now had to learn how to manage their personal debts.

The problem was that, to many, it looked like free money – all too easy to overlook those pesky monthly bills.

Credit cards evolved in the 1950s, first as conveniences for tracking company employees, then adopted as status symbols, in particular, Diner’s Card and then American Express. Credit cards were slower to be created for the common people, or if so, they tended to be concentrated in the upper few classes.

Banks in Bermuda began issuing local credit cards with the support of American credit card giants around 1975-1980. This is only anecdotal evidence from my professional practice, so readers, please enlighten me on this.

At the end of the last century 2000, the worldwide use of credit cards exploded, at least, in modern civilizations. Everyone, it seemed, had one, or two, three or more cards.

Everyone now had to learn how to manage their cash, manage their debts and manage their lives – not so simple. Debt without a planned budget process can literally consume one.

The message behind financial literacy initiatives is a genuine concern that, in general, many populations do not know enough about, do not have the time, energy or financial means to research, learn from additional financial processes to make the best financial decisions for themselves and their families. .

For far too many people, life is all about survival, a financial crisis close to financial disaster. The ability and purpose of these families to become upwardly mobile is tenuous at best, moving away from any economic upheaval: job loss, inflation, illness, accidents, Covid and more. While not everyone starts out economically, everyone certainly deserves a chance to be financially well off.

Here’s another perspective on managing with little or no safety net.

The chronicle 2019, Maid: hard work, low pay, and. Mother’s will to survive by Stephanie Land (and now a Netflix series) chronicles her struggles as a low-income mother, echoing those of thousands of people in similar economic circumstances.

Many of his observations are extremely vivid, depressing and certainly realistic, including these:

• Obstacles to progress: childcare is an absolute necessity, access to help has not always been easy, illness has led to additional problems of organization and financial security

• Transportation worries about an old car happened every day – vital transportation capacity to get to work. No car, no salary, budget torpedoed again

• Health issues: Cheap rental units often had mold, dust, cleaning, heating and safety issues, while long hours of intense manual labor were physically debilitating

•She felt invisible. People working in these types of service jobs experience implicit subliminal attitudes from others, being treated as poor, different, uneducated or, in the worst case, invisible. Certainly, she said, “cleaning other people’s homes every day brings a whole new perspective to your own life.”

This individual may have changed his life, having been discovered as a writer, but what about so many others.

Can Financial Literacy Leading to Financial Wellness Help?

Readers, what do you think?

The references

Maid author Stephanie Land on what it feels like to be ashamed of being poor,

The problem of financial literacy – and a proposed solution,

Martha Harris Myron, a native of Bermuda with US connections, is a former qualified international financial planner, author of The Bermuda Islander Financial Planning Primers and international financial consultant to Olderhood Group Bermuda Ltd. She is the funder of the “Financial Literacy-Bermuda™ Initiative coming soon. Anyone interested in sharing financial experiences and related contact [email protected]