The term “financially literate” means understanding how to manage your money – from debt management to saving and investing, to preparing for retirement. The more you know about how to handle your finances, the better decisions you’ll be able to make in the present and for your future. But how do you get up to speed? In honor of April being Financial Literacy Month, here are 5 tips that you can use right away to improve your financial literacy.
Whether that is at an online school, college course, or adult education center, there are a variety of classes available that will teach you the basics of money management, budgeting, saving, paying off debt, and investing in a structured environment. A course can help you to build strong money habits and avoid mistakes that could lead to financial problems and struggle. Many courses cost money, but there are some free courses online. Spend some time researching them today.
A budget is a great tool to help get you on track with regards to paying your expenses, eliminating debt, and saving for goals. With a budget, you’ll be able to track spending and adjust it as you go to help ensure you aren’t spending beyond your means. Knowing where your money is going and directing it where it needs to go is one big, initial step toward financial literacy.
In addition to a budget for your immediate goals, consider looking ahead toward your retirement. It’s never too early to plan for the future. You may think you’re planning for every cost that may occur in retirement, but you could be surprised. Consider learning more about unexpected retirement costs.
If you want to explore financial strategies in-depth, a book can give you additional ideas and details about your money, as well as offer you the step-by-step help you might need to change the way you understand and approach managing your financial life.
Financial publications in print and online offer solid advice for your current situation, long-term insight, and the latest financial trends that you could use in your financial planning. Reading financial magazine articles can also help you stay current on technology changes such as the latest devices and apps, how to operate them and where you can get them. To get the most benefit out of these publications, choose one or two to read often.
Listening to a podcast on how to navigate your money is a great way to become more informed because you can often play it while you’re doing something else. This is a great way to learn about finance if you have a busy work or family life.
Thanks to technology, there are many money tools available to help you get up to speed in no time and help make your financial life less complicated. Personal finance applications typically include a variety of features that can simplify your money tasks. They can help you keep track of your spending, budget, and income, check your credit score, organize your expenses and send you reminders for things like bill payments. Most come with an easy-to-use interface that can bring together your financial information in one place, allowing you to monitor your money efficiently. Some advanced apps come with professional tools that further can assist in helping you achieve your financial goals. In addition to the consolidation, tracking, and organizing, using financial apps can help bolster your confidence when it comes to how you manage your money. You’ll see exactly how your financial decisions impact your income and spending.
Having a financial plan is a great way to achieve financial literacy because it can help you take control of your finances and your future. A financial plan covers a longer period than a budget, helping you to prioritize to accomplish your long-term goals 10 to 30 years down the road. To create a financial plan, consider enlisting help from a financial professional, who can assist with planning, savings, retirement, and paying down your debts. To find the right agent who fits your needs, submit your information through North American’s find an agent page.