By John Muse
As a long-time member and current chairman of the Tennessee Bankers Association, I know firsthand the contributions that bankers make to help their communities grow and prosper, and to help people succeed individually.
Simply put, bankers do a lot more than just keep your deposits safe, keep track of your balances, and lend money for homes, businesses, and personal needs—they are actively involved in their communities in a number of ways, all aimed at improving the quality of life not just for their customers, but also in their hometowns.
A case in point is bankers’ outreach on improving financial literacy in the state, something that was on full display April 8-12 as part of Tennessee Financial Literacy Week, which we celebrated during National Financial Literacy Month, held annually in April. There were hundreds of presentations across the state made to a variety of groups, from elementary students to senior citizens and to people at all stages in their financial lives.
While we often tend to emphasize lessons for students and young people, financial literacy is a constant learning process. The knowledge and skill that a person has to manage their financial resources properly and responsibly is integral to success in school and in life. Each lesson you learn builds on another as you move from one life stage to the next.
For young students, financial literacy can mean learning to save an allowance or money from a gift and identifying wants versus needs. High school students need to learn how to handle paychecks for the first time. As a college student and young adult, living within your means, using credit wisely, and paying student loans are top of mind. Financial literacy then starts to look further ahead, starting and maintaining a 401k, saving for a new car or your first home, and eventually avoiding financial scams that
prey upon our elderly neighbors.
We took April 8-12 of this year to put a spotlight on the importance of financial literacy, but bankers provide these resources year-round in communities across the state. If you’re a teacher who wants a speaker for your class or run a senior center and would like a presentation on living in or near retirement—or anything in between—please reach out to your local banker to ask about setting something up. You can also get in touch with the Tennessee Bankers Association (contact information can be found at www.TNBankers.org). The TBA would be glad to assist you.
Remember, improving your financial literacy skills is a life-long endeavor—and your local banker is here to help.
John Muse, chairman of the Tennessee Bankers Association, is chairman, president and CEO of Farmers State Bank in Mountain City.