The new year is here, and only knowing the amount of money in your wallet is no longer sufficient. Expand your financial literacy by researching investment opportunities, market trends, and how the economy works. The challenges that come with managing your personal finances are abundant, but that is even more of a reason to do your due diligence. Doing research doesn’t have to mean spending countless hours reading complicated and time-consuming guides. Luckily, there are a bevy of materials at our fingertips that can be easily digested. Step up your financial literacy by following these helpful tips.
A combination of disinterest in the subject matter and discouragement when facing a complicated topic might make getting started a bit difficult. At the end of the day, however, this subject is something that will always pertain to you, making it truly worthwhile to invest time into.
It’s important to accentuate the fact that, regardless of your age, it is never too late to grow your financial knowledge. There are a whole host of areas in which you can learn: investing, estate planning, social security, credit cards, credit scores, future savings, real estate, retirement, taxes, and more. Decide which area you need to focus on and make it a priority this year to routinely grow your knowledge. Take one topic at a time. Begin with the first topic and formulate a solid foundation of financial understanding.
Understand the Financial Landscape
Finance is a field that is constantly evolving. What may have worked in some past economic conditions may not work now. What may have made sense for you 10 years ago may not make sense now. The inception of defined contribution plans like IRAs and 401(k)s coupled with the decline of defined-benefit pensions created the need for much greater financial literacy. This is the case because peoples financial situations are now entirely in their own hands. Take your financial future into your own hands by finding a source of knowledge that is right for you.
Find a Financial Resource
Consider picking up a newspaper or a magazine that is centered on money matters. The financial section of your local newspaper might provide an excellent resource to begin increasing your knowledge. Newspapers such as The Financial and the Wall Street Journal both provide insight into global and domestic issues of finance. Other reputable magazines are Barron’s, Fortune, and Bloomberg.
There is an overwhelming amount of financial resources on the web. Invest some time to find a credible website that you enjoy and is understandable based on your current level of financial knowledge. Additionally, many cable news shows have websites with a finance tab. Educational resources often provide tutorials that cover single topics as well.
The U.S. government is making a concerted effort to support financial literacy in the country. Congress has even dubbed April “financial literacy month”. The private and public sectors have created programs around the topic as well. Financial Literacy and Educations Commission is affiliated with the U.S. Treasury Department and has a goal of increasing opportunities to learn about personal finances by coordinating efforts between the public and private sectors. MyMoney.gov provides important fundamental knowledge on finance. Information ranges from advice on buying a home, to balancing a checkbook to investing in a 401(k).
Radio talk shows are another avenue to expand your knowledge. There are many syndicated and locally-based radio talk shows. Listening to callers’ financial questions can prove to be both educational and entertaining. However, do be cognizant of some talk shows being commercially driven rather than informative.
There is always the option of taking a financial literacy class. Find a course that is pertinent to your own personal finance needs. The theory of macroeconomics might be more abstract than directly relatable information you can put into immediate practice. Instead, look into a course that offers something along the lines of fundamentals of personal financial planning. There are many colleges that offer free courses that you can take from the comfort of your home. Of course, there are also numerous self-help books that offer finance and personal money management information.