EDITORIAL: Free knowledge is a terrible thing to waste

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge ...”

-- Hosea 4:6

With all of the talk -- and now resources that will soon be headed to fight blight, all that will be for naught if blight of another sort isn’t challenged. Blight of a neighborhood is easy to see, but it all begins with blight of the mind, and that comes from a lack of knowledge. The Stetson School of Business at Mercer University and GreenPath Debt Solutions are out to change that with their second Financial Wellness Fair to be held at the University Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Financial literacy is something rarely taught in school. It’s fairly easy to get in financial trouble particularly when there are vultures surrounding your neighborhood ready to pounce. Payday-loan outfits, car-title-loans offices and check-cashing places far outnumber banks in those neighborhoods. Being poor is expensive as explained, by Sasha Tomic, assistant professor of economics at the Stetson School of Business, at a recent poverty summit. If normal lines of credit aren’t open to a family, for whatever reason, and they have to deal in the sub-prime consumer marketplace, it costs them more money. For example, Tomic explained that a washer and dryer that would cost $847 would increase to $1,853, if bought on time from a rent to own store.

The Financial Wellness Fair is open to the public and the first 100 individual credit reports are free. There will be a seminar explaining how to read the reports and how events can impact an individual’s credit score, forcing them to deal with merchants who don’t have their best interests at heart. There will be a wealth of knowledge in the building and questions are welcome. This is a great opportunity to get better because you know better.