by Erika Janik
There are many types of literacy. One that nearly everyone could use some help with is financial literacy.
“Our surveys found that less than half of Wisconsinites were able to answer basic financial literacy questions, things like interest rates, investing, and savings,” says Peggy Olive, a Financial Capability Specialist with the UW-Extension.
Financial literacy is the ability to understand how money works: how to earn it, how to manage it, and how and where to invest and save it.
Olive says that financial literacy is essential to navigating your personal finances no matter your income. Many Wisconsin families, but particularly low and moderate income households, struggle with the range of choices in financial services. Finding a few extra dollars each month can make a big difference.
“One in five households are spending more than they bring in,” says Olive. “You can only sustain that for so long.”
Olive says that financial literacy is essential to the economic health of the state.
“Households are the backbone of the community,” says Olive. “Being able to juggle your household budget and provide for your family’s needs.”
UW Extension offers several programs and educational resources on personal finance. Some schools around the state also finance classes for students.
“I don’t care how or where you spend your money,” says Olive. “But everyone needs to know where their money is going.”
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