Financial literacy comes from life, not just school teaching
Zhang Yueshan

Editor's note: This is a letter from Zhang Yueshan, a graduate student at Xi'an International Studies University, sharing his thoughts on a CGTN opinion article on financial literacy. It reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily those of CGTN.

Having read an article published on April 5 in 2022 by Christine Loredo on why we must teach financial literacy in schools, I would like to share some of my thoughts on this issue based on my individual experience.

Financial literacy was not something new to me since I have a lot of resources from both online and offline. From numerous platforms such as Bilibili, WeChat, TikTok, we are bombarded with knowledge of how to make ourselves rich in a short time span; offline, we are instructed to learn how to manage money based on case analysis and text knowledge. It seems that the knowledge is of great help for us to learn something we never knew before, but it turns out that we have been learning this kind of knowledge since we were kids.

When I was in primary school, due to my family's financial distress, I was taught how to save and manage money and deeply understood the value of it. There were four people in my family: my father, as a rag-and-bone man, took me on the back seat of his bicycle, showing me how to find households that hoarded garbage to sell. Meanwhile, due to poverty, I learned to wait for the tourists to leave to collect and sell the empty bottles they had left in the garbage bin to cover my tuition fees next term.

All of those experiences at first made me feel awkward, but gradually, I found that everyone in my village has the habit of collecting waste and turning them into valuable asset, which has helped me understand that there is no shame in trying to make a decent living.

But the situation is different now. The financial literacy escapes me as I continue my life as a graduate student. The school's class on financial knowledge did help me know more about money, but still I lack the practice of saving money for myself. The root cause of it lies in the fact that saving money alone cannot solve money problems. I once went to a dentist to have a wisdom tooth pulled and it cost me 500 yuan, which was a huge burden for me. Since then, I found that the best financial literacy was to be tested by life itself, since one can never know how to value money until they make it themselves and spend it on tiny things.

I do agree with the author's opinion that financial literacy should be taught at school, but I would like to add that financial literacy should also be taught by life and experience of poverty.

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