The Importance of Financial Literacy

"But I got my car payments spread out over 72 months as opposed to 60 so that the payment would be lower, meaning I pay less over time."

I overheard this statement at a crowded bar in downtown Dallas, filled to the brim with 20-somethings. Mumford and Sons served as the soundtrack to this completely idiotic statement, which was lit by stringed patio bulbs, ambient cell phone glow and mason jar candles.

The guy saying this seemed normal enough, if not affluent - definitely college educated. So why would he say something so downright dumb?

My high school education emphasized the importance of Trigonometry over basic life skills like understanding car loans and mortgages.

I can tell you all the helping verbs from memory (be am is are was were being been have has had do does did may might must can could shall should will would) but until I was 21 I didn't completely grasp the economics and importance of paying the minimum balance of my new credit card and that interest was a banker's favorite word.

Generation Y isn't stupid. We aren't devoid of knowledge. We just grew up in an era where learning about finance, the basics of balancing a checkbook and taking out a low interest loan were de-emphasized in favor of standardized testing.

This is why it is so important for your credit union to encourage and emphasize financial literacy. There's an entire generation who has had very little formal education or training on the subject.  

Is your credit union advocating for the next generation? 


DeAndre Upshaw is a former Young & Free Texas Spokester. He's a marketing professional living in Dallas and a Beyonce enthusiast. DeAndre is the host and executive producer of The State of Awesome. Follow him on Twitter and check out his personal website.