Young people are groomed for college, or for work, but rarely are they taught the basics of money. Not accountancy or higher math, just simple, basic money skills, also called Financial Literacy.
It is never too late to learn the basics! As a stepping stone to more detailed articles to teach the finer points, here is a quick guide to the 5 first steps everyone should make towards financial literacy.
The most useful tool for any household is a budget. This is nothing more complicated than a running account of how much money you have coming in and how much you need to spend.
Doing your budget ahead of time gives you more power over your money. If math isn’t your best subject, that’s okay, there are any number of websites and phone apps to help you with the numbers.
With a budget, you always know where you stand. As GI Joe said, “knowing is half the battle.”
More people are living paycheck to paycheck than ever before. This means that fewer people are saving money than ever before.
Savings is not just a place to hold extra cash until you need it, it is a way you can start to grow your personal wealth. Invest, or find ways to make interest from your savings.
Start big, start small… just start saving!
Debt and Credit
Losing credit is easy, building credit is hard. If you are just starting out, avoid going into debt as much as possible… but if already have bad credit there are still ways to rehab it!
Regular payments and smart budgeting can help repair bad credit. Good credit opens up more financial opportunities for the future.
At their core, interest rates represent the percentage of a loan that is charged to the borrower. It costs money to borrow money!
But the ins and outs of different kinds of interest rates can be complicated. Understanding what they mean, and how much they end up costing you, is important to learn.
Identity Security & Financial Literacy
The newest entry on the list becomes more important every day. Finances are electronic these days, meaning your data and your money need to be safeguarded against hackers and data miners.
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