Ryan Harris on a stage giving his keynote.

Why We Need to Be Financially Literate

Financial literacy means you understand saving, spending, debt and YOUR FINANCIAL GOALS.

When you do this, you create financial independence which means your lifestyle is secure regardless of your immediate employment situation.

Financial literacy = financial safety

Feel behind in those areas? Don’t worry, we all are.

We are not taught this in school, rarely in college, and the chances that both you and your partner are? Forget it.

This problem hits NFL athletes and everyday people in the same ways.

NFL analysts occasionally spin contract signings as “team-friendly deals,” meaning the player took less than market value. Every time I see this, I hope it’s not because financial mistakes led the player to take less.

Put it this way: Would you ever sign a “business-friendly deal?” Why would a lawyer or a doctor or a teacher do that? I certainly did not take a team-friendly deal as an NFL player and, as a broadcaster now, I’m not taking any station-friendly deals.

Speaking of which, I was talking to a fellow broadcaster recently about financial literacy. I encouraged him to save more money and to become financially independent.

“Why?” he asked. “Won’t marrying someone help me retire?”….Uftah

I thought it was a valid question, so I will give you – and him – two reasons why being financially literate is important.

Related: 3 Books That Made Me Money and Changed My Life

1) You get to enjoy what you earn

If you save money, it feels good to spend money. Every month, I save a bit of money in case my kids want to go see a movie, and last month they wanted to see “Avengers: Endgame.” I saved $20 here and $20 there and that paid for the nachos, pretzel bites, popcorn and gummy worms and, oh yeah, the tickets.

Not only did we enjoy the movie, but I enjoyed every crunch as my daughter ate those nachos and every bag rustle as my son powered through those gummy worms. This was a day that I had planned for and saved for and, while it was not the magnitude of a house or a car, it felt very good inside.




I was able to enjoy the movie without stressing about the cost of the tickets and the food — all because I had planned and saved.

Our last family vacation was saved for throughout the Notre Dame broadcast season. When this belly was on the beach, I bought a small hat to commemorate the experience. $35 hat, but worth every saved penny.

Financially literate friends of mine save for golf trips, college graduation, college tuition, birthday trips in odd birthday years, and they enjoy every minute of it all.

Related: 4 Money-Saving Tips for Creating a Life Full of “Yes”

Have you ever regretted SAVING  money?

When you saved for something, did you enjoy it more?

Financial literacy creates enjoyment you have earned. Enjoy!

2) You have all the leverage when it comes to a negotiation

If you are financially literate, then you probably have savings. When you have savings, then you have security. And when you have security, you can hold out for the best offer. You can hold out for more money. You can hold out for more vacation time. You can steer your career to the heights you want. You can state YOUR terms.

All from saving a little money here and there.

I recently talked to someone who spent 12 years in the restaurant business. She has put together an incredibly brilliant career and has made choices that left her very independent financially — so financially secure that she actually left her company recently to join a different restaurant group. Her new position actually pays less money, but it has more opportunity for growth for her and makes her happier every day at work. As a result, she is happier.

“Ryan,” she told me with a smile on her face, “I was only able to do it because I’d saved money.”

Because she is financially literate, she created the security and opportunity for her family to make sure she was comfortable making the best career decision for her, regardless of money. She was able to prioritize her happiness and family mental health.

Can you save for that in your life?

She held all the power, she had all the leverage. And now she is happier every day – all because she saved and all because she was financially literate.

You have the power to create enjoyment and leverage. If you do not use, exercise and plan for this power of yours, it will be used against you for the rest of your life.

Learn the Rules of the Money Game

Save money. Detox from debt. Own what you buy.

When it comes to money, you create the definition of value.