Financial literacy simply means having an understanding of finances and how one can effectively use financial skills and management to make informed decisions so that they can protect and preserve their wealth and financial resources. While we can debate all day long about the financial system in the United States and why it works against individuals, it doesn’t mean we need to keep ourselves—and the people we’re responsible for—uninformed about how they can make the most out of less than ideal situations.
If you are the boss of your own company, or you have people under you in your organization, then it is also incumbent upon you as a mentor to arm them with information so that they can succeed in life. One of your tools is financial literacy. Here are some ways you can help encourage and educate them in this valuable life skill:
Invite professionals to hold seminars
There are so many types of financial specialists that you can invite to your company to hold special talks or seminars. Here are some examples:
- Financial advisors, who can help spread their knowledge and expertise on financial plans that can help your team achieve their long-term financial goals. Their tips can also include lessons on savings, insurance, budgeting, and tax strategies.
- A bankruptcy or foreclosure attorney, who can help provide insight into how and why businesses fail, and what your team can do to help ensure that it doesn’t happen to your own company.
- An insurance specialist—one who may not necessarily be selling insurance—to help you and your team understand the ins and outs of the insurance industry, the types of coverage you actually need, and the add-ons that you don’t. They can also help you compare policies from various companies to help you find the best possible deal for your needs and lifestyle.
These are just some examples of financial professionals who can speak to your team about financial literacy. Don’t skimp on these teachable moments so that your employees or teammates can be armed with the right information that can help them navigate their financial life.
Provide opportunities to practice what they’re learning
One example of this is to make sure that everyone experiences being part of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) team at one point in their tenure. You can have them organize fundraising or charity events so that they can have a closer look at how difficult it is to create income. Moreover, these projects can teach them how to properly calculate expenses, establish a budget, track profit, and others. It doesn’t matter how young or old your team is—project-based learning is always a good idea, and people learn more through practical experience.
Start a book club or a podcast club
While not every employee will be keen on joining a work-based social club, do not underestimate those who might be for it. Experts and researchers say that the office of the future will be able to lure more workers through social clubs, so you never know if your team will be interested in joining a book club that tackles financial literacy. However, people will only be more likely to join if there is some benefit for them, like the following:
- Opportunities to have free food and drinks, so make sure you have at least a coffee or a juice bar
- App-based fitness equipment that can help them stay physically active
- Other fun hobbies like a cooking course or knitting circles
- Townhall where they would have the opportunity to voice their concerns
Once you attract them to join your social club, you would then have more opportunities to push your financial literacy agenda in ways that won’t make them feel like they’re being forced into it.
Partner with HR
Consider that some members of your team might be undergoing financial trauma—especially Millennials, who are still reeling from the effects of student loans and the recessions of recent decades. Some have even experienced financial abuse.
When people have trauma, they don’t necessarily have the wherewithal to make the best decisions, because their trauma is still blocking them. Help your people heal from their trauma by partnering with HR to know if you can provide counseling, and how your company can help pave the way for their healing—with their consent, of course.
To empower people is to arm them with knowledge and to provide opportunities to practice what they’ve learned. Teach your employees financial literacy, watch them flourish, and become better than when they first entered your company.