6 Ways to Improve Your Financial Literacy
April is Financial Literacy Month. What is financial literacy? To define financial literacy, it is the ability for you to effectively use and understand different financial skills to invest, budget, and manage your finances. Personal financial literacy is the foundation for your relationship with money, and it can be a lifelong journey for learning.
If you feel you are financially illiterate, you are not alone. Many people struggle to reduce debt, manage personal finances, save for retirement, and understand the stock market. In fact, serious financial problems affect nearly 40 percent of U.S. households.
Looking to improve your knowledge of finances so you can budget your money and save? Keep reading to learn ways to understand the financial world, so you be prepared.
Table of Contents
1. Read Newspapers and Magazines
One way you can improve your financial literacy is to look for magazines and newspapers dedicated to money matters. You can also check out the financial section of your local newspaper.
Check out some business and finance papers like The Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal. They both provide insight into both the domestic and global world of business and finance.
You can also sign up for newsletters like The Kiplinger Letter which is a personal finance magazine. Other great magazines to check out include Forbes, Money, Fortune, and Barron’s.
2. Use Financial Management Tools
One of the best ways to learn is to act. It may be hard to retain all the information you read, so you may want to take advantage of several financial management tools right at your fingertips.
First and foremost, everyone should create a budget to help you control your finances, increase savings, and reduce debt. You can try various platforms like YNAB (You Need a Budget) to help you monitor your spending and find ways you can save money.
You need to know where your money goes each month. If you don’t want to use an app, try setting up a simple spreadsheet.
It’s also important to know where your credit score stands. Use sites like Credit Karma or Credit.com to see your score. They also will give you personalized tips on how you can improve that score.
You should also check your credit report annually to make sure there are no errors. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to get all that information and read through your scores. It will not hurt your score and it is free.
There are apps out there to help you reach your financial goals. You can organize all your expenses, set bill pay reminders, and help you manage your budget. Some apps have free versions while others have a subscription.
These apps are a one-stop-shop to help manage all your finances. Some of the top apps include Spendee, Prism, Mint, and Personal Capital.
3. Use Government Resources
The government has plenty of basic financial literacy learning opportunities for Americans. You can check out MyMoney.gov to learn all about the basics of finance including things like balancing a checkbook, investing in a 401(k), buying a home, refinancing, and more.
MyMoney.gov is also available in both English and Spanish. You’ll also find consumer guides, worksheets, and calculators to help you understand the finance world in addition to articles.
4. Talk to a Financial Professional
Sometimes, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to finances. By talking to a financial professional, they can help answer any of your financial questions and help you look at the big picture.
They can help you identify gaps in your financial knowledge and point you in the right direction to help you with day-to-day money decisions and goals. They can also help you create a plan to help manage your specific financial needs and help you stay on track.
There are financial advisors and there are financial coaches. They may overlap a little, but they are not the same. A financial coach takes a more holistic approach to your finances. A financial advisor works on your investments and net worth and not really your financial literacy.
5. Personal Finance Sites
You can easily educate yourself by reading articles about debt, banks, title loans, budgeting, investing, credit cards, and more. You will never run out of material. For more basic information, check out sites like Investopedia or The Balance.
The important thing is to not overwhelm yourself. You should set a goal to read one financial article a day. Most of these articles are a 10-minute read, so you can get to the basics before you want to dive deeper.
You can also check out video sites with someone explaining how to cut expenses, get the best loan, track spending, and improve your credit. There are hundreds of YouTube videos from financial planners, banks, and personal finance sites.
You should be careful because anyone can post a video and sound trustworthy. You should stick to credible online sources like government sites, well-known companies, and financial experts.
6. Take a Financial Literacy Class
If you want to dive in deeper to improve your financial literacy, you can also take a class at a college, adult education center, or an online course. A few online courses include Centsei Financial, Financial Peace University, and a Beginner’s Guide to Managing Money.
There are also several self-help books and worksheets to help you learn about finance and money management. Several nonprofit credit counseling agencies also offer courses on buying a home, establishing credit, repairing credit, debt management, and bankruptcy.
Listen to a podcast when you are in the car. There are several great options like Millennial Money, Money Girl, Planet Money, and His and Her Money Show.
You can check out any local community events. Your public library may offer financial seminars that are free and presented by local financial experts.
Learn About Your Finances Today
The best time to improve your financial literacy is now. There are plenty of resources available to help you learn how to manage money. You can learn ways to save for the things that matter to you.
Don’t worry money does not have to be boring. Keep exploring our site to learn other advice to improve your life and live it to the fullest.