I’m still amazed that finances aren’t taught in elementary school considering that money plays a great role in our adult lives. Maybe if children are taught earlier about money, then the mindset about finances would greatly improve beyond the attitude of just wanting to make a living.
Luckily, there is someone who shares my views on this important issue. But not only does he share my view, he is actually doing something about it. Ronald Williams, author of Before You Start Banking, has taken the necessary steps to educate both youth and adults about the benefits of knowing how to handle their money.
Williams spoke to Bleu about the reason he chose to teach financial literacy, his thoughts on how banks hire, and he explains how he got into writing a financial crime thriller.
Please briefly tell us a little history about Ronald Williams and why did you decide to make a career in finance?
I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio but now I reside in Chicago, Illinois. I am an experienced banking professional. I’ve worked in banking, lending, and higher education for many years, holding many different titles from teller to associate director. I am an author and I also ghostwrite. I have written my own literature, as well as literature for other clients about professional subject matters. I am also a financial literacy speaker and I have delivered many financial presentations to high school and college students to educate them about the banking industry. My goals are to educate teens and young adults about the banking industry before they start banking, while helping others that may need financial guidance or assistance. There are many people that work very hard for their income, but they do not have much to show for their grueling efforts. Banks have made tremendous amounts of revenue on overdraft fees, which are usually paid by households that do not have many financial assets. The responsibility does fall back on the customer, so what can the customer do to help themselves? That’s my purpose.
I fell into my career in finance and management. I was just searching for a job and I applied to be a teller. I never thought I would work inside of a bank because of some of the violent bank robberies that I had seen on TV. I overcame that fear and the bank hired me. I learned things very fast about banking products, other departments, and how the banking revenue model operates. With work and increased knowledge I moved up the ranks very fast. During that time, I also went back to school and I obtained my Bachelor’s and my Master’s degree in business administration. I am thankful for my work experience because I have obtained a plethora of priceless knowledge about money and finances. Priceless knowledge that many people are not aware of.
You’ve written a book, Before You Start Banking? Could you tell us what the premise of the book is and why you decided to write it and who is it written for?
The premise of Before You Start Banking is to provide a financial educational resource that outlines how banks earn revenue, what a credit report is/isn’t, some criteria that loan underwriters use, financial resources, and my list of “do’s and don’ts.”
I decided to write the book after watching a segment on the “Today Show” about finances. The previous day, I found out that my position would be ending soon due to cuts. After watching the segment about finances, I believed that a lot of information was neglected about finances and banking. That was the catalyst that made me start developing my outline for Before You Start Banking. I really liked the job that I was performing but things happen for a reason. I really believe that this was God intervening to initiate Before You Start Banking. What was an idea and a concept that I wrote fairly quickly, has turned into a book that has opened up so many opportunities for me. I have not received one negative review yet. I would love for Before You Start Banking to be used similar to a text book for high school students. The technology may change in banking but the principles will remain the same.
Before You Start Banking was written to enlighten young adults, those trying to rebuild their finances, and as a guide that parents can use to educate their kids on this subject as well. I know that reading about finances can be boring and most people do not want to read a 200-page novel about banking. I knew that a short read about the basic and moderately advanced principles of banking, while applying practical scenarios and including my own personal experiences, would be a lot more suitable. Future books will include more advanced financial subject matter in my Before You Start series.
Why take on the role of a financial literacy advocate?