April is National Financial Literacy Month! While personal finance is a topic that every American needs to understand, it’s also something that is never formally taught. Unfortunately, this leaves many people vulnerable and unequipped to properly manage their finances. Our credit counseling advice is to always keep learning about personal finances. In an effort to help, we’ve put together 5 steps to gain financial literacy.
5 Steps to Gain Financial Literacy
- Learn how to budget. Learning how to budget is the cornerstone of responsible financial planning. Creating and maintaining a budget shows precisely how much money you have and where it’s spent. A budget will help you find ways to save money and plan for the future.
- Understand credit. Learn the most important concepts of credit, including why credit is necessary, the information used to calculate a credit score, and how to improve a credit score. It’s also crucial to understand the best strategies for paying down credit card debt.
- Create a checking/savings account. Creating a checking and savings account is one of the first actions you can take to keep your money safe and make paying bills easier and more convenient.
- Understand debt/loans. There are some student loan repayment options to help you pay off student loans promptly that will also work with your budget. You can change your repayment plans at any time. You can do so even if you’ve been assigned a specific plan when you first began repaying the student loan.
- Understand the danger of identity theft. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, Social Security number, credit card number, or other identifying information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. The best way to help prevent becoming a victim of identity theft is to safeguard your personal information.
Why Financial Literacy Is Important
Being financially literate will help you make the best possible financial decisions regardless of your income or debt. When you fully understand the terms of your credit card, the impact debt can have on your finances, and how to create a budget, your financial life will be much better off!
If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session today.