Did you know that April is National Financial Literacy Month?
Investopedia defines financial literacy as “the ability to understand and make use of a variety of financial skills, including personal financial management, budgeting, and investing. It also means comprehending certain financial principles and concepts, such as the time value of money, compound interest, managing debt, and financial planning.”
With the financial world becoming increasingly complex every year, improving and maintaining financial literacy is important for keeping up with changes and being able to make informed financial decisions.
Want to improve your financial literacy? Here are some tips that will help you get started:
1. Create (and stick to!) a budget.
While this may seem like a no-brainer, 65% of Americans say they have NO IDEA how much money they’ve spent in the past month. Establishing a budget that accounts for all of your bills, savings and purchases is a basic but critical step in improving your financial literacy. And, if you’re nearing or in retirement, living on a fixed income means that you’ll need to plan extra carefully to make sure you’re not spending more money than you’re bringing in.
2. Read more about money.
One of my favorite user-friendly, educational websites that covers just about every aspect of finance and investing is Investopedia.com. If you prefer longer-form reading, check out some of the most popular books about financial literacy, such as I Will Teach You To Be Rich, The Millionaire Next Door, or How Much Money Do I Need to Retire?
3. Attend a financial planning class.
You can learn a lot about the modern world of finance in a short amount of time by attending a financial planning class taught by a financial professional. These classes aren’t designed to turn a regular person into an investment banker, but to teach fundamental concepts that all people should know, especially when it comes to retirement planning. Often, these classes are taught for free at a university, public library, or other similar public space.
4. Talk to a financial professional.
A fee-only financial advisor (meaning they don’t have any hidden conflicts of interest by selling you certain products) is obligated to act only in your best interest. When you work with a qualified professional, you can look to them for not just advice, but also for general financial education.