What do saving your money and saving your teeth have in common?
This week kicks off Financial Literacy Month. While I’m excited about this, I completely understand why you’re not.
I’ve always equated financial literacy with flossing your teeth: You know it’s good for you and takes only a few minutes, but you can’t get motivated to do it regularly.
The analogy gets worse.
Putting your mouth where your money is
Eventually, most of us make a dental appointment and sit in the uncomfortable chair while a hygienist scrapes plaque off our teeth with very sharp instruments. We endure getting cavities drilled. We pay for root canals. Why? Because we grasp this simple fact: It might hurt a little bit now, but if I don’t do this, it’ll hurt a lot more later.
Sadly, most of us haven’t come to the same realization about our money.
The controversy that shouldn’t be
Financial Literacy Month has many facets, but the main thrust is simple: We need to teach both children and adults about achieving and maintaining freedom from debt. Doesn’t sound controversial, does it? Yet last month, I had to defend the concept of financial literacy from a take-down by the national website Slate. Right before 2014’s Financial Literacy Month, Debt.com’s editor had to similarly fend off an economist and a Harvard professor.
Until high schools and colleges require their students learn money management, it’s up to you. I believe Americans need to brush up on their money smarts just like they brush their teeth: It needs to be a small daily habit.
That’s why Debt.com is here. If you never visit this website again, I urge you to first click on our Tools & Tips section. There. you can learn about the major forms of debt and how to get out from under them all — either by doing it yourself or asking for professional help. Frankly, I don’t care how you do it. I just want you to lead a long life with clean teeth and clean finances.
Check out Debt.com every Wednesday in April for our special Financial Illiteracy Month series, in which we show you graphic examples of what NOT to do to become debt-free!
Howard Dvorkin is a CPA and chairman of Debt.com, an educational resource for those who want to conquer all forms of debt in their lives.