The pursuit of financial literacy doesn’t make you less spiritual

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The holy week has commenced and it’s a time for prayer and sacrifice.

I tread the line between agnostic and practicing Catholic. I can’t call myself a devout Catholic but I like believing in a god. I don’t keep a strict schedule but I pray. Roman Catholicism to me, is pure and simple, being a good person, to yourself and to others, no matter what their religion may be. I’m betting that’s a common thread among all religions.

My country, the Philippines, is mostly made up of people who were raised and so are, roman catholic. This religion is a Spanish colonial inheritance. A favorite line of the struggling Filipino is this:

“We may not have enough money to eat but at least we got our money the good way and that we are happy.”

I paraphrase of course, but that is the gist. This line presupposes that money, or for purposes of this article, financial literacy, is evil and so to pursue it will make you unhappy.

To say that caring about your finances / financial literacy is evil is like saying knowledge is evil

I personally hear this line a lot from friends, acquaintances, or even family! It shouldn’t come as no surprise then that the person who usually says this is usually, FINANCIALLY ILLITERATE. There, I said it. If you’re offended, look away. Lol.

Financial literacy is merely knowledge about a specific matter – money. Knowledge is power. It gives you some form of control over one of the biggest stressor in life. Knowledge can’t be evil.

If you don’t care to know about money management, that doesn’t make you a more spiritual person.

Portrait of the poor catholic

The profile of such a person is someone who is content with making money, and spending it all. Their parents never taught them how to budget and they live contently in their ignorance. But the poor catholic knows the Bible inside and out.

The portrait of a poor catholic is apathetic towards financial literacy – he/ she doesn’t know and doesn’t care about budgeting, emergency funds, saving for a rainy day. Only half of Pinoys have a bank account, for crying out loud!

And when life confronts them with their lack of necessary financial resources (i.e hospital bill, etc), they are defensive and they say that line. They imply that you, the financially literate, is less spiritual just because you know money stuff. As if being poor was a prerequisite to heaven. (an early trip to heaven, maybe, if you can’t afford medicine).

If this sounds like a rant, it is. Haha. Even I struggle to explain basic financial concepts to relatives. I try to get them to participate in the financial sphere, in the form of a brokerage account, investment account – to simply invest in capital instruments other than the basic bank deposit. I only wish the best for family and wish that they too can be financially independent. It is like talking to a rock, though.

It just frustrating, you know? On the other hand, there are readers and friends who are eager to be financially literate.

On a side note, I will spend the Holy week giving up something – I don’t know what that is yet. Maybe I’ll just fast.

George

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