In April we wrote about financial literacy being a term used to denote individual capabilities to make informed personal financial decisions. Making decisions about money impacts practically every aspect of our lives since so much of what we do involves purchasing something. Whether it is food, clothing and shelter or selecting insurance policies, investments or retirement products, we are faced with choices every day, some of which may be quite significant.
For instance, when is the most advantageous time to claim social security benefits, and how exactly does someone figure that out? Or, does it even matter? Which financial advisor is best for your personal situation and what are the criteria for making that choice? How about long-term investments like variable annuities that receive so much conflicting reviews in the financial press? Are they ever a good investment? What information is needed to make that evaluation? These are just a few examples of the kinds of questions that we face at one point or another as we make choices about our long range financial goals.
Such issues are not as straight forward as some might hope. Many of these decisions require evaluation of a wide range of factors and those factors are different for every individual situation. One of the biggest challenges in acquiring authoritative financial information is that those who are most trained, educated and experienced with money matters are usually people working in the financial industries of banking, insurance and investing. These professionals are generally paid for their services by commissions or bonuses and frequently the way we respond to their suggestions impacts their income. This, of course, leads to a conflict of interest making it all the harder to know if the information is accurate or just beneficial to the informer.
In an effort to help members of our community more fully prepare for making significant choices and becoming financially literate, the Naperville Public Library is offering a series of Financial Literacy Workshops this summer. For the sake of convenience each workshop will be offered twice, once at the 95th Street Library and once at the Nichols Library. Click here to see the library's calendar and choose June, July or August for the specific workshop dates. Please join us - we think you’ll gain some helpful insights!