Knowledge is the key to financial security.
I remember when I was pregnant with my second child at the age of 28, I thought that “life skills” was a topic that should be taught in school. Between the middle school and high school years, the only financial or life skills taught were typically in a home economics class, WHICH I should add IS an elective, making it not a class on most students’ four-year plan. Yet, life skills and specifically, money management skills, are needed throughout life, and if not properly mastered, can wreck havoc with a person their entire life. For me, the only memory I have of financial training in school was a ‘budget exercise’ done at some point in 5th grade, and it contained none of the elements of “real” life!
Knowing how to make good decisions around money is a key component to creating wealth, yet the majority of kids have grown up learning basically how their parents managed money, whether efficient, or not, and that’s about it up until 18. Some parents like my own didn’t even discuss money with the kids. Money was a hush-hush kind of subject. Don’t be in the dark. Managing money , saving, investing, and creating wealth over your higher earning years (generally 23-45 years of age) doesn’t have to be a mystery. Financial literacy is available to everyone.
Steps to Financial Literacy
- Track your money – Keep a notebook of everything that comes in and goes out. Knowing where your money goes is the first step to making different decisions.
- Practice gratitude – Be grateful for everything that comes in. Even finding a nickel on the sidewalk is a reason for gratitude. Write it in your notebook and be grateful for it.
- Cut down on incidental expenses like drinks and snacks at a drive-through restaurant. They can really add up over a month’s time. Carry your own water bottle and plan meals and snacks so you’re not tempted to buy “goodies”. Put the savings into your “wealth fund”.
- Become aware of your beliefs and recurring thoughts around money. Often a person doesn’t believe that they deserve to have money and their life reflects it. Don’t let this be you.
- As soon as you have some emergency savings set aside (for that unexpected large expense), talk with your financial advisor to discuss strategy for beginning your IRA and initial investments to start putting your money to work for you.
No, you won’t need to go out and buy “Investing for Dummies” – Just by following a few simple steps and creating good habits around handling money, it’s so do-able to begin YOUR wealth building plan. You don’t need to go it alone either! Team up with a professional who can really help with getting your money working for you. The peace of mind that comes from knowing you have the pieces in place to provide you and your family with financial security is priceless!