Isn’t this the cry of every adult? Regardless of what career path you are on, everyone wants more. According to a 2019 Bankrate.com study, nearly 3 in 10 adults have no emergency savings, and 7 of 10 admit to living “paycheck-to-paycheck.”
With a global pandemic finally showing signs of becoming a glimpse in a rear-view mirror, there could be no more critical time to get financially wise because April is Financial Literacy Month. Here are a few ways you can “celebrate” this critical month and become more aware of your finances.:
1. Budgeting – Without question, this is the essential step to becoming financially literate. Don’t spend what you don’t have. If you have a credit card, pay it off with the money you have in the bank. Grow your credit score and pay off the debt in the same month.
2. Limiting – When a budget is created and adhered to, wasteful spending is limited. If you see it on paper, you’re less likely to spend what you do not have. Limit your spending to budgeted items to keep yourself in check.
3. Protecting – Identity theft is rapidly becoming one of the leading crimes in the country. Last year, there were more than 1.3 million documented cases of identity theft, costing Americans more than $3.3 billion. And that’s doubled from the previous year. You can do simple things to protect your identity, such as safeguard your Social Security number, shred everything with personal information, and even use an RFID wallet.
4. Spending – You can work for months on a budget, limit going out to eat, and buy a wallet that protects your information, but one awful decision with your money can ruin all of it. From there, you could begin to live off credit and eventually fall into the downward spiral of minimum payments. Always be mindful of what you spend and where you spend it.
5. Studying – Probably the least favorite of all the tasks to become financially literate is to learn what you don’t know. And that could be considered true for most of the country. Do you know the basics of loans? Do you understand how credit scores work? Have you ever invested? These are some of the serious questions for which you should have answers.
Becoming financially literate sounds like it should be easy but think back to school and how many classes you took to balance a checkbook. Because that answer is minimal, it’s your turn to admit what you didn’t learn in school and educate yourself now as an adult.
No one will hold your hand through the process – not a co-worker, a teacher, or even your parents. You must want to become financially literate and then act on that desire.
And there is no better time than the present.