The Literacy Cooperative’s 2019 2Gen Summit

Energetic conversations filled the room Friday, May 24th, as The Literacy Cooperative hosted the 2nd Annual 2Gen Summit to support whole family literacy. The 2Gen approach to literacy aligns and coordinates services for children, parents, and caregivers because research continually shows that a parent’s education level dramatically affects the educational success of their children. This […]

How To Become Financially Literate

The first step to achieving financial independence is to become financially literate. Becoming financially literate means understanding how the world of finance operates. What rules and laws govern that world? When you learn how the finance world works, then you can make better decisions about what rules to follow and what rules to break. Developing financial literacy takes time, since you will always have more to learn, but getting started is quite simple. Here are 7 ways to achieve financial literacy that you can start doing today.

1. Pick up the paper

Start reading everything you can about finance. Yes, you can buy books on the subject (or better yet, check them out at the library or download them) but you can also learn a lot just by reading the finance section of your local paper. If physical newspapers are not your thing, you can also read the financial section of the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Fortune, Forbes and Money.

2. Read Rich Dad, Poor Dad

While much of the financial advice in this book flies in the face of traditional investment wisdom, there are reasons it remains one of the bestselling financial books of all time. Just remember, don’t believe everything you read, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up some great advice.

3. Avoid “get rich quick” schemes 

One of the fastest ways to lose all your money is to invest in pyramid schemes. The world – and the internet – is full of people promising you fast wealth and instant results. There is no quick and easy path to wealth. There are longer ways and shorter ways, but they all take discipline, determination and patience. Don’t believe anyone that tells you differently, and definitely don’t give them your money.

4. Use financial management tools 

Before you can build wealth, you must understand your own habits and patterns and what you are currently doing with the money you have. Personal financial management tools like Mint from Quickbooks is free to use and can give you a tremendous amount of insight into your personal financial habits. Building wealth often involves breaking bad spending habits, but in order to break them you have to understand what they are.

5. Take a class or attend a seminar

Not only will taking a class or attending a seminar help to build financial literacy, but it will also put you in contact with other like-minded individuals. You aren’t going to be able to learn all by yourself or even build wealth by yourself. It will take a network of people to help you. Some people in your support group will be experienced, some will not, but they will all possess knowledge and information you do not. They can help talk you down from the ledge when things get turbulent and can also be a good sounding board for any crazy ideas you may have.

6. Find a mentor

Chances are you know someone either in the financial world or who is a successful investor. They don’t necessarily have to be a millionaire to be successful, just financially stable. If you know anyone who is not constantly worried about money, then chances are good they are a financially literate.

7. Dive in

One of the best ways to learn about investing is to invest. You will always be more interested in something you have a stake in than something you don’t. You can retain the services of a professional firm to help you get started, or you can do it alone using a self-service apps but the best way to learn is to just do it. You don’t have to invest your life’s savings or bet the farm just yet (in fact, you shouldn’t) but you should at least dip your toe in the water to get started.


Brittany Waddell is a contributing writer and media specialist for NexGen Wealth. She often produces content for a variety of finance blogs.

Can-Do Guides to Literacy

Bob Paponetti and Laureen Atkins are members of The Open Door Collective’s (ODC) Labor & Workforce Development Issues Group. The group has issued a series of “Can-Do” Guides for various stakeholders (e.g., employers, labor unions, prisoner re-entry agencies, universities, and others).

Each guide explains why adult basic skills are important for the individuals with whom that stakeholder works (e.g., employees, union members, former inmates) and how that stakeholder can work with adult basic education providers to strengthen and expand basic skills development services in their community and state. Please read and share the guides.

ODC is dedicated to reshaping U.S. society to have dramatically less poverty and economic inequality and more civic engagement and participation in all our society has to offer. ODC members believe that adult basic skills education and lifelong learning programs can help open the doors of opportunity for everyone to healthier, more prosperous and satisfying lives. Visit to learn more.

Can-Do Guides to Literacy

What Re-Entry Services Can Do to Strengthen the Basic Skills of Former Inmates

What Labor Educators Can Do to Strengthen the Basic Skills of Our Workforce

What Universities Can Do to Strengthen U.S. Adult Basic Skills Efforts

What Forward-Thinking Employers Can Do to Strengthen the Basic Skills of Our Workforce

2018 Director’s Message / December Newsletter

As this year ends, it is always good to look back, make goals for the coming year, and feel energized for the work before us. Progress has been made and we appreciate all the efforts you have given to make Northeast Ohio a more literate community.

We are especially pleased for the support and encouragement we’ve received to advance a two generational (2Gen) service delivery strategy that considers the needs of the entire family. We convened a 2Gen Summit this past year that strategically gathered early childhood providers, adult literacy programs, and workforce agencies. This event featured two national speakers, panels of local experts, and a feedback session that discussed how we can align services, so the entire family’s needs can be addressed in an integrated manner. A 2Gen working group resulted from this summit. Look for a call to action that will be released soon.

The expansion of Imagination Library and Reach Out & Read this year has been exciting. Both are proven, universal interventions that connect to parents of babies and toddlers to support them in their role as their child’s first teacher. The first three years of a child’s life present a unique window of opportunity to positively impact brain development. The influence of Reach Out & Read physicians along with the monthly mailing of brand new books through Imagination Library will result in a child better prepared for school success.

The CLE-BEE, our annual corporate spelling bee fundraiser, was very fun night of competition for a good cause. We enjoyed bringing together professionals from different sectors to showcase their spelling skills while raising funds to continue our work in the community.  This year’s winner, Cleveland Public Library, was crowned the champion with the word “gallimaufry.” Try using it in a sentence!

Best wishes to you and your families during this holiday season. We look forward to the opportunities 2019 will bring for us to connect and collaborate.

Bob Paponetti

Click here for the December 2018 Newsletter.