Saturday, April 25, 2015

Getting people to care

I'm in downtown Oklahoma City, holding the OKC Dollar Dash scavenger hunt with the local JumpStart Coalition. It's one of our efforts at bringing more attention to financial literacy during the month. We've hidden money all throughout the area and have provided players with clues to find that dough. So far, I've had two lucky couples come by for a chance at the prize money.

While attracting some interested parties to the financial campaign is a good thing, I can't help but feel disappointed that we didn't attract much more. It's a challenge to get people interested in personal finance and money management, and I really believed a scavenger hunt with money prizes would do the trick. Research shows that many Americans are still not managing their money right. Most struggle with large amounts of debt, which has a trickling effect on the economy. Stats show that consumer spending is fluctuating at unprecedented levels. One period the average consumer is spending well, and the next, we're being too frugal. It just confirms that we're not spending wisely according to an established budget in place, but merely spending emotionally or until we've run out of cash flows. This is further highlighted in the jobs reports as well, where the economy is at one moment beating expectations only to turn around with a disappointing result in a future period. Even though reports show that more jobs are opening up and more Americans are starting their own businesses.

Have we really become a culture so addicted to wants that we're willing to turn the money plan into a rolling yo-yo? I'm not surprised when I read in the latest headlines that our own politicians cant either decide on a budget or resort to illegitimate spending habits to further their own agendas.

I'm sitting here at my assigned post for the scavenger hunt and repeatedly asking myself: What will it take? To make people care, save for their future,  get out of debt, become more active members of the financial world. The answer that keeps coming back is: Just keep moving along in the path you're on. One person at a time is all it takes to start a positive habit to financial well -being. As a woman of immigrant parents who had nothing and started out with even less, one progressive step at a time will eventually make a difference. So, excuse me while I continue to greet the very few who participated in this event's turnout.

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