PDF: PIGGY Plan-It Review
Financial experts have been warning us for years that Americans are becoming less and less financially literate. In April, Forbes’ Dana Pascarelli wrote that Americans are not saving enough, don’t understand the basics of investing and saving, and are not putting enough money away to cover emergencies and long-term plans. Most Americans couldn’t even pass a basic financial literacy test, she added.
This persistent problem, Pascarelli wrote, is causing financial instability now in the form of record personal debt, high default rates on student loans and inability to take advantage of an improving economy. Her point is that financial literacy education could help to alleviate these.
Here in Mississippi, groups such as the Mississippi Council on Economic Education have been working to reverse these trends, and are making great progress. And initiatives such as TEAM (Treasurers Education About Money) spearheaded by Mississippi Treasurer Lynn Fitch have built public-private partnerships to help get financial literacy training into schools.
While older adults are certainly not a lost cause when it comes to learning the basics of financial literacy, the future belongs to the young. And getting started early with good financial habits could create a brighter outlook for the next generation. That’s the idea behind a recently published book called “P.I.G.G.Y. Plan-It” (P.I.G.G.Y. stands for Prudent Investors Get Going Young). Three financial educators from the Jackson area collaborated to publish the personal finance primer, targeted at high school and college graduates and young professionals.
Nancy Lottridge Anderson, Ryder Taff and Susan McAdory work together at Ridgeland-based New Perspectives Inc., which Anderson founded in 1993. Anderson and Taff co-host Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s weekly “Money Talks” program.
Financial topics are often difficult for many of us to grasp, and many people could better understand it with the right tools.
“We wanted to find a way to educate our friends about personal finance without boring them to death,” the authors note in their introduction. “Surprisingly, not everyone is interested in the topic. Unless you major in finance or happen to have a keen interest in the stock market, it’s unlikely that you have a solid grasp on investing.”
That philosophy drives the book’s 15 chapters, each with a short summary at the end to make the main points easier to digest.
The book answers basic questions about personal finance, in clear and simple, jargon-free language that makes it easy to find advice on a variety of topics. Some of those include how to find a reputable and capable financial adviser; the importance of getting a solid education and building a financial safety net through savings and investments; understanding insurance; finding (and keeping) a career and building and managing credit. It even includes a chapter on planning for “the end of the world” and how planning for it can help you regardless whether — or how — things may fall apart.
The book contains many valuable nuggets of financial wisdom, complete with advice on where to find additional resources. It’s easy to read, with chapters short enough to be consumed when you have a few minutes.
I’d recommend it as a great gift for someone just starting out on a career, or if you just would like to finally understand 529 plans or the difference between a stock and a bond. I plan to keep my copy on my desk, for a handy reference when I write about financial matters.
P.I.G.G.Y. Plan-It can be found in most bookstores and online sources such as Amazon.com.