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Financial Literacy

  • 12 mins

Financially Empowered: Thriving through Community Connections

Cam Mulvey

March 20, 2023

While schools focused on trigonometry and Shakespearean sonnets, they overlooked the most practical lesson of all: financial literacy. As online communities have become an integral part of the lives of today's generation, it is no surprise that they are also leading the way in financial literacy. While we memorized historical dates and mathematical formulas, the knowledge of managing money wisely slipped through the cracks, leaving us to face the real world unprepared.

Despite the absence of formal education, recent studies have found that Gen Zers are 45% more likely to start investing by the age of 21 compared to millennials. With a growing number of young individuals starting to invest at a young age, the role of online communities in the financial field becomes increasingly important. So despite the education system failing us in financial knowledge, young people are taking their financial future into their own hands. 

At Sute, we recognize the value of financial literacy and its impact on personal growth. As the CEO of this company, financial literacy has been a subject close to my heart for a decade. The statistics speak for themselves: 56% of Gen Z and Millennial Investors, aged 40 and younger, actively engage in investment communities or forums. A staggering 91% of Gen Z respondents turn to social media as their primary source of information on investing, surpassing any other source. These numbers underscore the significance of providing a dedicated space where individuals can navigate the intricacies of personal finance and learn from one another.

Our goal is to empower individuals by equipping them with the knowledge and resources to make informed financial decisions. In this blog, we will use the terms "personal finance" and "financial literacy" interchangeably to demonstrate the power that finance-related communities can have on an individual’s personal growth. 

How can personal finance communities help? 

The topic that should’ve been covered in school 

Community building platforms committed to personal finance serve as invaluable platforms for learning the topics that should have been covered in school. Members discuss topics like budgeting, saving, investing, debt management, and financial planning. Here's how they can help:

  1. Shared Knowledge and Experiences: Since it’s a subject never covered in school, people tend to learn “the hard-way”: through real-world experiences, trials, and errors. By actively participating in these communities, you can tap into a wealth of shared knowledge and experiences. Learning from others' experiences and perspectives can provide practical insights and guidance that were missed in school.
  2. Expert Advice and Guidance: Many online financial literacy communities have experts or professionals who actively contribute to discussions and provide expert advice. These experts share their knowledge and answer questions on a wide range of financial topics. Their guidance can fill the gaps in our understanding and help us gain a deeper insight into personal finance matters. Utilize the opportunity to seek advice from these experts and enhance your financial literacy.
  3. Online Resources and Educational Content: Depending on the community management software, personal finance communities may curate or create educational content such as articles, guides, videos, and tutorials. When accompanied with the traditional channels of the best community building platforms, members can learn in traditional e-learning modes or merely through engaging conversations. 

These resources cover a wide array of personal finance topics, including budgeting, investing, credit management, and more. Take advantage of these resources to self-educate on the subjects that should have been covered in school. They provide valuable information and practical tips to improve your financial knowledge and decision-making skills.

  1. Mentorship and Peer Support: Personal finance communities foster organized mentorship programs or informal mentorship opportunities where experienced members guide and mentor those seeking to enhance their financial literacy. Mentors can share their insights, offer advice, and help you navigate the complexities of personal finance. Peer support is also invaluable in these communities. Engage in discussions, ask questions, and seek input from fellow community members who may have encountered similar financial situations or challenges.
  2. Networking and Collaboration: Personal finance communities offer opportunities for networking and collaboration. Engaging with like-minded individuals who share similar financial aspirations can lead to collaborations, joint investment ventures, or even partnerships. Networking within the community can provide access to new perspectives, investment opportunities, or even potential mentors who can guide you on your financial journey.

Embracing personal finance communities provides you valuable learning resources, active engagement, and opportunities to expand your financial knowledge and skills. 

Navigate stress 

Like communities in many niches, personal finance communities can be incredibly helpful in navigating stress. Here's how you can utilize these communities for support:

A young woman navigating the stress of personal finance who has turned to the best community building platform, Sute, for her personal finance questions
  1. Peer Support and Encouragement: Personal finance communities provide a supportive environment where members can share their experiences, challenges, and successes. When it comes to budgeting or taxes, it's common to feel overwhelmed or stressed. By engaging with the community, you can seek support from fellow members who have faced similar situations. They can offer guidance, share strategies, and provide encouragement to help you navigate through stressful budgeting or tax-related tasks.
  2. Tips and Tricks for Budgeting: Personal finance communities are treasure troves of practical tips for budgeting effectively. Members often share their budgeting strategies, expense tracking methods, and money-saving techniques. By actively participating in discussions and exploring community resources, you can gain insights into budgeting approaches that have worked for others. Not only is a strong budget a great foundation for a healthy relationship with personal finances, but the absence of a strong budget tends to be the root of financial stress for many individuals. This collective knowledge can help alleviate stress and provide you with actionable steps to manage your finances more efficiently.
  3. Accountability and Goal Setting: Personal finance communities provide a supportive environment that encourages accountability and goal setting. Members can share their financial goals, track progress, and receive encouragement and support from the community. By actively participating in these communities, you can set financial goals, learn effective goal-setting strategies, and stay motivated on your journey towards financial well-being.
  4. Education and Guidance: Financial literacy communities tend to offer educational content and guidance on stressful topics. They may host webinars, workshops, or provide access to articles and guides that cover budgeting strategies, tax planning, and financial management. Engage with these resources to enhance your understanding, learn new techniques, and stay up to date with legal changes. Knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions, reducing stress associated with personal finance.
Thanks to the support of her financial literacy community, this young woman now has confidence in her relationship with money

Remember, while personal finance communities provide valuable support, it's essential to approach discussions and advice with a critical mindset. Verify information, consult professionals when needed, and tailor recommendations to your specific circumstances. By utilizing personal finance communities as a resource for support, guidance, and knowledge, you can navigate stress associated with budgeting and taxes more effectively and with greater confidence.

Investing advice 

​​Personal finance communities are excellent resources for seeking investing advice, especially when it comes to understanding the complicated verbiage that plagues the finance industry. Here's how you can leverage these communities:

  1. Simplified Explanations: Personal finance communities are comprised of individuals with diverse backgrounds and levels of expertise. When discussing investing topics, community members often break down complex terms and concepts into simpler explanations. They can help demystify investing jargon and provide clear explanations that are easier to understand. By actively engaging in discussions and asking questions, you can gain a better grasp of investing terminology and concepts.
  2. Expert Insights: Many personal finance communities include members who have extensive experience in investing or work in the financial industry. These experts can offer valuable insights and guidance on investing strategies, asset classes, risk management, and portfolio construction. They can help decipher complicated verbiage by providing real-world examples and practical advice. Engaging with these experts in the community can expand your investing knowledge and enhance your ability to navigate the intricacies of investment terminology.
  3. Ask for Clarification: If you come across unfamiliar or confusing investing terms or strategies within the community, don't hesitate to ask for clarification. Financial literacy communities are supportive environments where members are willing to help. By seeking clarification, you can encourage others to provide simplified explanations or examples that shed light on complex verbiage. This not only benefits you but also helps other community members who may have similar questions.
  4. Research Recommendations: Personal finance communities often discuss recommended resources, such as books, websites, or courses, that can aid in understanding investing terminology. These recommendations may focus on simplifying complex concepts or providing comprehensive explanations. Take note of the resources suggested by community members and explore them at your own pace. Reading books or articles written for beginners or attending educational webinars can help you grasp investing terminology in a more accessible manner.

Remember, while personal finance communities can be valuable sources of investing advice, it's essential to exercise caution and conduct further research when implementing any investment strategies or decisions. Always verify information and seek professional advice when needed. I never consider investing advice anything more than a starting place for my own future research, and I always make sure any advice is consistent with my specific personal situation. 

Understanding the regulatory environment  

Personal finance communities can be valuable resources for navigating legal changes and staying updated on the evolving regulatory landscape. Here's how you can leverage these communities for this purpose:

  1. Active Discussions: Personal finance communities are often buzzing with discussions on various topics, particularly legal changes and their implications. Engage in conversations surrounding legal updates and participate in discussions initiated by community members who are knowledgeable in legal matters. By staying active in these discussions, you can gain insights into recent changes, understand their significance, and learn how they may impact your personal finance decisions.
  2. Sharing News and Updates: Community members frequently share news articles, blog posts, or official announcements related to legal changes. These shared resources can serve as valuable references to understand the nature of the changes, their scope, and the potential implications on personal finance matters. Pay attention to such updates within the community, and utilize them as starting points to conduct further research or seek professional advice.
  3. Seeking Clarification: If you come across legal changes that you find unclear or confusing, don't hesitate to seek clarification within the community. Pose questions to the community members who may have knowledge or experience in the specific legal area. Ask for explanations, practical examples, or insights into how the changes may affect various personal finance aspects. The collective knowledge of the community can help shed light on the intricacies of legal changes and provide valuable guidance.
  4. Resource Recommendations: Community members often share recommended resources, such as websites, blogs, or official government sources, where you can find accurate and up-to-date information on legal changes. Take note of these recommendations and bookmark reliable sources that provide timely updates on legal developments. Regularly check these sources or subscribe to relevant newsletters to ensure you are aware of the latest legal changes and their implications.

It's important to remember that a financial literacy community may provide a platform for sharing information and insights, but they should not replace professional legal advice. When it comes to navigating complex legal changes, especially those with significant implications, consult with qualified professionals who specialize in legal and financial matters. Utilize personal finance communities as supplementary resources to enhance your understanding and stay informed about legal developments, but always seek professional guidance for personalized advice based on your specific circumstances.

Get more comfortable discussing complicated subjects 

Personal finance communities can be instrumental in helping individuals become more comfortable discussing complicated subjects. A recent study found that 71% of individuals have found that technology makes finances something they’re more comfortable talking about. Here's how you can leverage these communities for this purpose:

  1. Supportive Environment: Personal finance communities provide a supportive and non-judgmental environment where individuals can openly discuss complicated subjects. Engage in conversations within the community and share your thoughts or questions about complex topics. The supportive nature of the community will help you feel more at ease and encourage you to participate in discussions.
  2. Sharing Personal Experiences: Within personal finance communities, individuals often share their personal experiences related to complicated subjects. Reading about others' journeys and challenges can help normalize the discussion of these topics. By sharing your own experiences and seeking input from others, you'll contribute to the open dialogue and create an environment where discussing complex subjects becomes more natural. Sharing experiences in an online community will also make your subconsciously more comfortable discussing your relationship with money in other settings, such as with parents, significant others, or children.
A young professional who accelerated their relationship with personal finance with their community on Sute
  1. Language Simplification: Personal finance communities often simplify complex subjects by breaking them down into more digestible explanations. Engage with community members who excel at simplifying complicated concepts and request their assistance in understanding difficult subjects. As you become more familiar with simplified explanations, you'll gain the confidence to discuss these subjects more comfortably.
  2. Practice Active Listening (or Reading): In addition to participating in discussions, practice active listening within the community. Pay attention to the insights and perspectives shared by others on complicated subjects. Engaging in thoughtful discussions and asking clarifying questions will help you develop your understanding and communication skills.
  3. Incremental Progress: It's essential to remember that becoming comfortable discussing complicated subjects is a gradual process. Start by engaging in discussions on topics that you feel relatively more confident about and gradually expand to more complex subjects. Over time, as you gain knowledge and experience within the community, your comfort level will increase, and you'll find it easier to navigate conversations about complicated subjects.

By actively participating in personal finance communities, leveraging educational resources, sharing experiences, and engaging with others, you can gradually become more comfortable discussing complicated subjects, both online and “IRL.” Embrace the supportive and collaborative nature of the community to enhance your knowledge, build confidence, and foster an environment where complex discussions are welcomed and valued.

Scam prevention 

Financial literacy is not a topic to be taken lightly, especially considering the susceptibility of finance-related communities to scams and misinformation. Finance-related communities are often targeted by scam artists and bots, taking advantage of people seeking reliable investment opportunities. Considering the sensitive and life-altering nature of financial decisions, it is crucial to establish a secure and trustworthy space where individuals can feel confident in their financial pursuits. At Sute, we have taken this responsibility to heart, striving to create a platform that prioritizes security, authenticity, and meaningful connections. 

  1. Sharing Scam Alerts: Personal finance communities serve as a network of individuals who actively discuss financial matters. Members can contribute to scam prevention efforts by sharing scam alerts and warnings within the community. If someone encounters a potential scam, they can inform others about the details, tactics used, and any red flags observed. This collective knowledge helps community members stay informed and recognize potential scams more easily.
  2. Educating Community Members: Personal finance communities can organize educational initiatives to raise awareness about common scams and fraud tactics. These initiatives can include webinars, workshops, or articles dedicated to scam prevention. By providing information on how scams operate and offering guidance on spotting suspicious activities, community members can become more informed and better equipped to protect themselves and others from falling victim to scams.
  3. Encouraging Due Diligence: Personal finance communities should promote a culture of due diligence among their members. Encourage individuals to research investment opportunities thoroughly before committing. Emphasize the importance of conducting research on companies, and seeking independent reviews or professional advice. By empowering members to perform due diligence, the community can collectively safeguard against potential scams.

By actively participating in personal finance communities, staying informed, sharing scam alerts, and fostering a culture of due diligence and collaboration, individuals can collectively prevent scams within the community. Remember that community members should exercise caution and verify information independently. If in doubt, consult with professionals or trusted sources before making any financial decisions. Through a united effort, personal finance communities can create a safe and secure environment where scams are identified, prevented, and reported, ultimately protecting the financial well-being of its members.

How to build a financial literacy community 

It’s clear that financial literacy communities can benefit individuals at any point on the spectrum of financial wellness or understanding. So if you’re an edu-creator looking for insights on how to build a personal finance community, we’ve compiled our best strategies: 

  1. Define Your Purpose and Vision: Start by clarifying the purpose and vision of your personal finance community. Identify the specific goals you want to achieve and the impact you aim to make. Are you focused on promoting financial literacy, providing support and research for investment decisions, or creating a space for open discussions about personal finance? Clearly defining your purpose will guide your community-building efforts and attract like-minded individuals, while also making it easier to sniff out bad actors.
  2. Foster a Welcoming Environment: The first section of this blog was about how financial literacy is the biggest subject not taught in schools. Therefore, people should acknowledge that members will enter the community at many different places in their relationship with personal finances. Create a safe, inclusive, and welcoming environment where members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences, regardless of their background. Develop community guidelines that outline expected behavior, respectful communication, and zero tolerance for scams or misinformation. Encourage active participation and establish a supportive culture that empowers individuals to learn, grow, and help each other.
  3. Encourage Engagement and Discussion: Actively foster engagement and discussion within the community. Create discussion topics, pose questions, and encourage members to share their thoughts, experiences, and insights. Engage in conversations, provide guidance, and respond to queries to establish yourself as an approachable community leader. Promote meaningful interactions that facilitate knowledge sharing and peer-to-peer support.
  4. Organize Events and Activities: Organize virtual events, webinars, or workshops on specific personal finance topics. Invite guest speakers, experts, or professionals to share their expertise and engage with community members. These events not only provide valuable learning opportunities but also strengthen the sense of community and encourage participation.
  5. Facilitate Mentorship and Collaboration: Establish mentorship programs or facilitate connections between members seeking guidance and those with more experience. Mentorship and collaboration foster a sense of belonging, accelerate learning, and promote growth within the community for both mentors and mentees. 
  6. Foster Trust and Security: Prioritize trust and security within your community. Implement measures to protect members' privacy and data, including robust user authentication, secure communication channels, and strict moderation to prevent scams or fraudulent activities. Proactively address any concerns or reports of suspicious behavior to maintain a trusted environment.

Building a personal finance community takes time, dedication, and a genuine passion for empowering financial well-being. By creating a supportive, educational, and engaging environment, you can foster a community where individuals come together to learn, share, and thrive on their personal finance journeys.

If you think Sute might be a good fit for your financial literacy community, apply now! We’re currently taking applications from the best edu-creators in entrepreneurship, career development, and personal finance.