When you were in school, did you learn about personal finance? We’re not talking about college where you had your choice of classes, but in grade school where you were taught according to state standards. Chances are, the answer is “no”. It should come as no surprise, then, that many Americans struggle with their personal finances. Because it is essentially up to you to boost your financial IQ, how should you go about it? Here are five great ways that you can educate yourself when it comes to money and finance:
There are virtually hundreds of books on the topic of finance; you can also find dozens of magazines. Head to your local library, download books to your eReader or subscribe to newspapers like the Wall Street Journal. For just a small investment, you can learn tips and techniques to improve your finances throughout your lifetime. Think about it like this: for the price of a week’s worth of Starbuck’s pit-stops, you can take better control of your financial future.
2. Find a Mentor
We all know someone who is better off financially than we are. Chances are that this person would be more than happy to share their knowledge with you. Whether it’s a friend, relative, co-worker or even your employer, adopt this person as a sort of financial mentor. Find out what worked for them, what didn’t work and how they’ve been able to maintain their financial standing in the midst of a crippling recession.
If you’ve got cable or satellite TV, you have a wealth of information at your fingertips. Look for Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey and Jim Cramer in particular. Any of these amazing people can give you money saving tips and financial advice. Not only that, but if you watch regularly, you’ll soon find that your financial IQ is through the roof. Suze Orman, especially, is fabulous if you need to learn how to be credit card savvy.
Get online and look for financial websites and forums. These sites are great places to chat with others who may have been in the same financial boat in the past. Who better to learn tips and tricks from than people that have been there? Sites like Wise Bread, MoneyNing and Money Crashers are great for beginners and will teach you everything from retirement planning to make wise investment choices.
5. Change Your Habits
Your financial IQ may not be as high as you would like it to be. The remedy is to sit down and create a budget using online software or a mobile application. Look at your expenditures and see where you can cut back. How much would you save if you bought a Keurig and started skipping Starbucks? You can only watch one channel on the television at a time. How much could you save each month if you cut back on your cable package? Look closely at your spending habits and begin to change the way you think about your money.
Boosting your financial IQ will not only help you in the future, but can help you immediately as well. By learning how to take better control over your spending, how to manage your credit cards and which investments will earn you the most, you can be on your road to financial success before you know it.
Sheila Barnett writes on personal finance and budgeting for financial calculator, a site with many helpful financial calculators for investments, loans, net worth and even one that figures out your savings from quitting smoking.