Back when we actually dialed a telephone to call someone and solved math problems with a No. 2 pencil on a piece of paper, people who wanted to say they lacked basic life skills would joke, “I can’t even balance a checkbook.” Nowadays, if you say that to anyone younger than 22, the likely response will be something like, “What’s a checkbook?”
The way we pay for our needs and keep track of our money in the digital age has certainly become easier and more accurate. But even with the assistance of financial software, we still need an understanding of basic life skills to make the best use of our money. A survey of educators showed they are concerned that too many young people don’t understand basic financial matters of daily life. So, the editors of Arkansas NEXT: A Guide to Life After High School created this magazine as a resource to support the financial education of young people.
Just as reading and writing are essential skills for everyday activities, we must be literate about financial matters as well. Financial literacy will ensure that you are prepared to tend to your personal business, and many of you will need a high level of financial literacy for your future jobs.
When I was growing up in Gravette, I shined shoes at the local barbershop and mowed lawns. My parents taught me to save my money and how to spend it wisely. The articles in this magazine will teach you similar lessons such as budgeting, how to build credit, the risks of taking on too much debt and, yes, the necessity of balancing your checkbook — even if it’s an electronic one.
Governor of Arkansas
Fill in the Blanks
My first job was shining shoes at Johnny’s Barbershop in Gravette.
I got serious about saving when I saved money to buy my first calf for the farm.
When it comes to money, “save a little every month” is my go-to advice for students.
If you learn one thing from this magazine, I hope it would be how to make money work for you.