During her reign as queen, Jordan had a high poverty rate and a high level of terrorism recruitment among its people. When people are desperate for food, clothing and shelter, terrorists can swoop in and promise those things to those who join their cause.

Queen Noor worked to secure world funding to help household villages set up microbusinesses and generate the income they needed to meet the basic needs of their families. This plan reduced their poverty rate by over 50%.

The queen’s plan also helped reduce terrorism recruitment. The Global Terrorism Index (or GTI, published by the Institute for Economics and Peace) measures the impact of terrorism, ranked on a scale from zero to 10 (Iraq, for example, has a GTI of 9.96, while the U.S. figure is 4.877). Jordan’s GIT is only 2.858. Queen Noor’s obvious conclusion is that if families are more financially stable, terrorism activity decreases and the outcome is peace.

A Matter of Contentment

People show what their values are by the way they spend money. Their expenditures also show what they believe will bring satisfaction and happiness. Yet studies have also shown that having more money than you need to provide for basic needs does not necessarily lead to more happiness.

The U.S. marketing machine causes consumers to spend too much money. As personal finance author and radio host Dave Ramsey says, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” Financial literacy is necessary to help teach attitudes about money, how to quit comparing your material possessions to those of others, and how to be content with what is already owned. Comparing yourself to others often leads to wanting their material possessions. Wanting what they have leads to improper spending choices and poor prioritization. Money is consumers’ biggest test in life, but it can also be their biggest testimony of what they really value.

Although financial literacy will not solve all the world’s problems, financial education has bigger benefits to society than we could ever imagine. The ability to earn and manage money properly, combined with healthy attitudes and communication about finances, will reduce our societal stress. Striving for comprehensive financial literary over a lifetime is a worthwhile goal that will provide benefits for the good of all.   

David Strege is a senior fee-only planner at Syverson Strege in West Des Moines, Iowa, and is a past chairman of the CFP Board.

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