Financial literacy refers to the capacity to comprehend and use a variety of financial concepts and abilities, such as personal financial management, budgeting, and investing. Financial literacy is the foundation of your financial relationship, and it is a lifelong process of learning. The sooner you begin, the better off you will be, because education is the key to financial success.
Continue reading to learn how to become financially literate and capable of navigating the difficult but crucial waters of personal finance. And once you’ve educated yourself, attempt to pass on what you’ve learned to your family and friends. Many individuals find financial problems scary, but they don’t have to be, so educate and guide others.
Understanding Financial Literacy
Financial products and services have been more widely available in society in recent decades. Whereas previous generations of Americans may have purchased goods primarily with cash, credit and debit cards, as well as electronic transfers, are now widely used. Indeed, according to a 2019 poll by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, customers preferred cash payments in only 22% of purchases, with debit cards accounting for 42% and credit cards accounting for 29%.
Mortgages, student loans, health insurance, and self-directed investment accounts have all become increasingly important. As a result, it is even more important for people to understand how to use them safely.
Household budgeting, knowing how to handle and pay off debts, and evaluating the tradeoffs between different credit and investment products are just a few of the abilities that go under the banner of financial literacy. These abilities frequently necessitate at least a basic understanding of essential financial concepts like compound interest and the time worth of money.
Given the importance of finance in modern society, lacking financial literacy can be very damaging to an individual’s long-term financial success. Unfortunately, research has shown that financial illiteracy is very common, with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) attributing it to 66% of Americans.
Being financially illiterate can lead to a number of pitfalls, such as being more likely to accumulate unsustainable debt burdens, either through poor spending decisions or a lack of long-term preparation. This, in turn, can lead to poor credit, bankruptcy, housing foreclosure, and other negative consequences.
Thankfully, there are now more resources than ever for those wishing to educate themselves about the world of finance. One such example is the government-sponsored Financial Literacy and Education Commission, which offers a range of free learning resources.
Strategies to Improve Your Financial Literacy Skills
Developing financial literacy to improve your personal finances involves learning and practicing a variety of skills related to budgeting, managing and paying off debts, and understanding credit and investment products.
- Create a Budget
- Pay Yourself First
- Pay Bills Promptly
- Get Your Credit Report
- Check Your Credit Score
- Manage Debt
- Invest in Your Future
Why Is Financial Literacy Important?
Financial illiteracy can lead to a variety of hazards, including the accumulation of unsustainable debt burdens as a result of bad spending decisions or a lack of long-term planning. As a result, you may have poor credit, bankruptcy, foreclosure, or other undesirable effects.
How Do I Become Financially Literate?
Learning and practising a number of skills linked to budgeting, debt management and repayment, and credit and investment products are all part of becoming financially literate. Creating a budget, keeping track of costs, being attentive about regular payments, being sensible about saving money, periodically monitoring your credit report, and investing for the future are all basic actions to enhance your personal finances.
What Are Some Popular Personal Budget Rules?
Two commonly used personal budgeting methods are the 50/20/30 and 70/20/10 rules, and their simplicity is what makes them popular. The former entails dividing your after-tax, take-home income pay into three areas—needs (50%), savings (20%), and wants (30%). The 70/20/10 rule also follows a similar blueprint, recommending that your after-tax, take-home income be divided into segments that cater to expenses (70%), savings or reducing debt (20%), and investments and charitable donations (10%).