Being financially literate means having the knowledge and confidence to efficiently and effectively manage, save and invest money for you and your family. This can include everything from getting out of debt, budgeting, insurance, investments, real estate, college and retirement planning to and tax and estate planning.
In short, it’s the only way you can be sure you’re actually being wise with your investments and your future. But if you consider yourself to be a little less than 100% financially literate, how can you improve that literacy without spending a fortune?
Do your research
Not only are there thousands of tomes written on the subject of finance, today we’re lucky enough to have the internet at our disposal. Whether it’s watching a financial channel on YouTube, subscribing to a newsletter or catching up on the latest blog, there are dozens of resources to use. Then there are the weekly or monthly magazines such as Forbes and The Financial Times which are not only packed full of information but are also incredibly well-written pieces of journalism to boot.
Keep a budget
The best way to learn about finance is to learn how to properly budget your resources. So few of us actually know how to budget and that’s why so many of us end up in debt by the time we hit our late 20s. All budgeting really means, however, is balancing the money going into your bank account with the money leaving it. There are many different apps and online resources that can help with this task but ultimately, it’s down to you and you alone.
Plan for the future
Planning for what will happen to our finances after we’re gone is a very sobering way to come to terms with exactly how finance works. Research financial planning and estate planning and you’ll find many solicitors and specialists who will help you negotiate legislative laws to figure out exactly what will happen to your nest egg after you’re gone.
Investing is a very immediate but admittedly risky way to become financially literate. It doesn’t have to mean investing a lot either. In fact, if you want to dip your toes in the water before taking a plunge there are dozens of options online for investing without using any actual money whatsoever. As with anything investment comes with risk, nonetheless, trying out different investment strategies will be worthwhile long term.
Learn your terminology
As with all serious and complicated things in life, finance is rife with terminology that makes no sense without context. There is a risk lexicon of terms such as “APR” and “compound interest” that might sound like nonsense now. But learning what these things mean, will make understanding the world of finance much easier!