financial literacy

What’s Up With the Term “Financial Literacy?”

“Financial Literacy” is a term I struggle with. It’s a term that those who know about money use to talk about money with those that (they think) do not understand how money works. Hearing the term “financial literacy” is basically like fingers on a chalkboard for me – it basically comes across that you do not “speak” finance or understand how money works. It implies that you need to be educated about the topic.  

I get it… it sounds terrible!

Unfortunately, it is the common way to refer to understanding and teaching people about money and how money works. So when you see or hear the term financial literacy, perhaps try and change your thinking. While you might be thinking this is another jerk trying to tell me I’m inferior and don’t understand money, perhaps shift your thinking to think “okay, there is an opportunity to learn some things that I can leverage about money for my personal benefit”.

If you are a younger person, the term “financial literacy”  can feel condescending; like someone is trying to “parent” you on money. That very well might be the case. We all learn some tough money lessons in our younger years and would love to help someone avoid that same pain by sharing what we learned. Again, try and shift your thinking here. Maybe this person is sharing a difficult lesson they learned that cost them a ton of valuable time and hard-earned money. You might find it more appealing if you choose to think “If I take the time to listen, perhaps I will learn something and avoid a costly mistake or missed financial opportunity”.  

If you are older, the term may come across as you are illiterate about money and may lead to a feeling of being disrespected or being attacked for what you do not know or practice.  Regardless of our age, we can always learn something new or get better at something. Money is not exempt. Maybe you have learned some hard lessons, had some wins and are doing alright. Imagine if you had an opportunity to better your resources to make more, save more or make better informed decisions? If you are older, you have probably grown in your career, make a reasonable salary, and have saved some money. How great would it be if you could shift your thinking on financial literacy to something more positive? By listening, you may find new ways to use the resources you have to make more money. You just might be surprised with what you walk away with!

The big takeaway here is that a simple change of mindset can make all the difference. Take the negative connotation of the term “financial literacy” from being condescending or disrespectful and switch your thinking from “here we go again” to “this could be an opportunity to better put my money to work.”

Becoming an MFF Fellow  

Our Standards of Financial Literacy program is engaging, full of interesting information, and easy to navigate. Adapted from the National Standards for Financial Literacy developed by the Council for Economic Education (CEE), this robust curriculum features six short lessons on such important topics as earning income, understanding the value of saving and using credit. When completed, this program lays the foundation for becoming an MFF Fellow.

Becoming an MFF Fellow is the ticket to access additional MFF programs and opportunities for mentoring, networking, internships and real-world opportunities. These are the opportunities which allow MFF Fellows to continue their journey towards personal financial independence.

Learn more at

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