Since April was financial literacy month, it is a perfect time to go over some basics of how you can get started with taking control of your finances.
Whether you are new to managing your finances or you are a veteran, it is always a good idea to get a refresher on the basics so you can keep your financial game strong.
Why Financial Literacy Matters
For the most part, we are all forced to fend for ourselves when it comes to our finances.
The unfortunate part about it is that so many of us can get into financial trouble before we are even old enough to legally rent a car (in the United States, anyway).
The hole can be so bad, it can take a decade or more to start to climb out of it. That can prevent you from moving your life forward and getting your financial footing, which can delay huge life milestones such as buying a house or saving for retirement.
Accept Teaching Yourself Financial Basics
While there are a lot of resources and money courses out there, just accept that this is a part of life you will have to teach yourself.
It will take a learning curve and a few months (or years) of work for you to figure it out the essentials. You will make mistakes along your journey, and that is just a part of it all.
Don't beat yourself up for making some mistakes along the way or mistakes you made before you knew the basics.
Side note: Keep an eye out for scams, because there are a LOT in the financial industry. You should not have to put yourself into a MLM scheme or pay money in order to understand the basics. If you start to smell a red flag, walk away.
Start with understanding of some basics such as:
- How to start a savings account
- Start with a basic budget
- Figure out if you need to make more money and how to get a raise
- Learn what sinking funds are
- See if your company offers any retirement options
Those are the absolute basics and a great place to start to get your financial future rolling.
Some helpful resources to get started:
Get Your Full Financial Picture
In order to figure out anything about your financial picture, you need to sit down and figure out all the numbers.
Questions to get yourself get started:
- How much do you make each year?
- How much total debt do you have?
- How much do you owe in student loans?
- What are ALL of your bills every month?
- What are ALL your bills each month (not every bill is due monthly)?
- What is your credit score?
Know Your Money Story
One huge part of knowing your money story is figuring out how you think about money.
Your money story is built on the money beliefs that you inherited from the adults in your life while you were young. It is also the stories you continue to tell yourself about finances.
It is not easy to examine these beliefs and thoughts to tackle them head-on. However, it is better for you to get the ball rolling on it than to keep your head in the sand about your money.
Track Your Financial Journey
Obviously, we are biased towards our planners when it comes to helping you track your finances.
However, you do not need a MSTRPLN planner to do so (although it helps), but you do need a way to track your financial progress and goals.
You will want to track your budget, your savings progress, and any financial to do's you need to do to make your financial dreams a reality.