According to the Milken Institute, only 57% of adults in the United States are financially literate. Only 12 states require high school students take personal finance as a standalone course to graduate, yet studies show that financial education makes a significant impact – improving rates of savings, lowering levels of debt, and increasing rates of asset accumulation.
During the month of April, we spoke to five members of our finance and accounting teams about the importance of Financial Literacy Month and what it means to them to help raise awareness about the need for more financial education for learners of all ages.
Meet Members of Our Finance Team:
Rob H., Senior Financial Analyst, shared that Financial Literacy Month “provides an opportunity for us to recognize the value of teaching and learning the skills needed to be financially successful. Each person should have the opportunity to better understand how financial decisions will impact their life and learn how to make choices that will work for their financial path.”
He goes on to explain that being financially literate is important because “it enables people to pursue a desired lifestyle by thoroughly and properly assessing risks and opportunities. Having the ability to make informed decisions about earning, spending, borrowing, investing or saving can help people achieve their goals.”
Rob shared that he enjoys working in finance, “connecting analysis with strategy is what I’m most compelled by in my role. Naturally, I perform a lot of quantitative analysis, but the most enjoyable part of my job is to synthesize the analysis into a clear, actionable takeaway. Being able to design an analysis, determine outcomes, and work with leaders across Cengage Group to implement change and improve the way we operate is really rewarding. Having a strong culture around learning and development has allowed me to contribute as much as possible during my time here.”
Kaitlyn F., Associate Accountant, just recently graduated from Xavier University and joined our finance team full-time. She says that Financial Literacy Month is “a great reminder for people to check up on the health of their finances and create new goals for themselves. This month also serves as a challenge for me to reflect on what I know about financial literacy and continue to grow my knowledge and strengthen my skills.”
She says that “being financially literate has given me peace of mind, knowing that I can effectively manage my money and make better financial decisions that will benefit me today and in the future. I would encourage everyone to learn more about finance and accounting; I enjoy listening to financial literacy podcasts, they have provided me with some great tips and advice.”
Kaitlyn explains that she enjoys working in accounting because “there is always a way to ‘check’ yourself, everything should tie out to the general ledger. It’s black and white, there is no grey area, it’s definitive.” She also notes that in her first three months here “I have already learned so much and gained valuable experience working in cost accounting. I feel supported by my team, who motivates me to bring my best self to work every day.”
Chris N., Manager of Accounts Payable and proud father of two, says that “Financial Literacy Month is a great time to introduce younger children to the basics of financial literacy in fun and engaging ways. It is also the perfect opportunity to engage older kids and younger adults with some tools that can help them understand how to deal with finances and protect and enhance their future.”
He understands that financial literacy can be “scary or even boring to some people but having a basic understanding of how to manage finances is an important life skill, almost as important as learning how to cook or do your own laundry. So much of what affects you as a citizen is driven by things like taxes, governmental regulations, and stock markets. Having a bit of knowledge and a healthy curiosity on these topics will benefit you throughout your adult life.”
Chris joined the Cengage Group family about a month ago and shared that “I was compelled to work for a company whose mission aligns with my personal beliefs. It’s a wonderful feeling to come to work every day knowing that you have a small part in changing education for the better.”
Lauren M., Senior Revenue Accountant, shared that “Financial Literacy Month is an opportunity for all of us to spread awareness about the tools and resources that are available to people who are looking to strengthen their financial knowledge. Deepening your understanding in this area is an investment in oneself, whether you are working on saving, budgeting, investing or all of the above.”
Lauren believes that “financial literacy is just as important as a healthy diet or exercise. Taking some time to invest in some healthy financial habits can set you up for long-term success. I recommend going online or picking up some books at the library, there’s so much free content out there. It is never too late to begin!”
She also shared that “I have found an incredibly supportive community and network of mentors here at Cengage Group. I feel like they are truly invested in my personal and professional growth. Connecting with professionals across our business units has helped me set goals and define a pathway to achieve them.”
Nikolina P., Senior Manager of International Tax, has worked here for three years. She shared that “We all learn how to add and subtract in elementary school, but I wish that we also learned how to apply those principles to our own finances. Learning about basic financial concepts [like saving money] and their application to both personal and professional life is an important skill that can help people make more responsible financial decisions.”
Nikolina understands that learning about finance can be intimidating to some people, so she suggests studying “one topic at a time. Financial literacy materials are easier learned when broken down into sections that can be tackled logically.”
She added that “although, working in tax is often perceived to be boring it is quite the opposite. With rules and regulations continually evolving, I am always learning and adapting, every day is a new challenge. I feel empowered by my role and my contribution to tax and finance team. Seeing the everyday interplay between finance, accounting and tax and real positive impact my team has on the overall business strategy makes my job that much more fulfilling.”
Cengage Group employees make an impact and change the world. Here, transparency and collaboration are core values. We provide challenging careers, competitive benefits, a strong technology focus and a great team of co-workers and customers. To learn more about our Finance and Accounting teams and apply for an open role and visit the careers section of our website!
And if you want to freshen up your own financial literacy chops, check out our ed2go Personal Finance course here.