Why Master's Students Need to Increase Their Financial Literacy
Take a look at the statistics for financial literacy in the U.S., and you'll see an alarming trend toward a limited understanding of financial topics – and not just among the young. Many older Americans are also losing touch with basic money management techniques and financial best practices. Insufficient financial knowledge creates a variety of potentially damaging financial consequences both for individuals and for our society as a whole, including the accrual of an overwhelming amount of debt and the inability to plan for your future.
As a Master's student, it's important that you increase your financial literacy, not only for your own sake, but also so you can share and apply this knowledge throughout your career. Even if you aren't planning on focusing in finance or economics, the better your future customers', colleagues', and organization's finances are, the better yours are likely to be.
Avoid Massive Consumer Debt
The consequences of poor financial literacy and planning are potentially disastrous. Today, Americans carry $11.52 trillion in debt. While there isn't anything fundamentally wrong with acquiring debt in order to attain a specific goal, like your Master's degree, a problem will arise if that debt is not effectively managed and paid down in a reasonable amount of time. A healthy degree of financial literacy will help any Master's student effectively manage the debt they take on and create a realistic plan for paying it off.
Have a Healthy Financial Future
Because of high debt and low savings, many Americans today are uncertain about being able to retire at a reasonable age, if at all. Beyond planning for retirement, it's prudent to save for emergency expenses like car repairs or medical bills. According to NPR's 2016 Economic Anxiety Index, an unforeseen expense of just $1,000 would be "very difficult" for more than a quarter of the American population to manage. No one can predict unforeseen expenses, and everyone wants the chance to retire – especially after a long career. Improving your financial literacy now to prepare for your life after school will go a long way toward shoring up the security of your financial future.
Feel Less Pressure & More Positivity
People experience stress, depression, and anxiety when they're concerned about their financial situation and prospects. Pursuing your Master's can position you for better paying jobs, but partnering your education with strong financial understanding will improve your economic and emotional outlook. When you increase your financial literacy, learn to effectively manage your debt, and start saving for retirement, you already put yourself ahead of many Americans today. Reducing stress can also improve decision making, a key component to successful money management and another contributor to promoting a positive outlook.
Spreading Financial Literacy
Strong financial skills support healthy business and career management. As a Master's degree holder, you could be looked to by friends and customers as a source for sound business advice and will need to successfully manage your own career, as well. It's imperative that you possess the financial literacy to achieve business success for yourself and your customers, regardless of the professional field you enter. Focus on receiving this financial training now, and you will see more success in the future.
As expenses rise and our country's debt grows, Master's students must take the time to increase their financial literacy and avoid the negative financial situations that many Americans face today. When you do, your bank account, self-esteem, and career will all benefit.
Written by Ashford University staff