Not many of us know that the month of April is dedicated to financial literacy. As we age and go through life, it is important to have a basic understanding of your personal finances. The better your personal finances are, the more comfortable you can live. Studies show that having a good financial understanding along with strong budgeting habits can lead to lower stress levels and a lifelong journey of money-related success. Follow these tips to learn more about your personal financial situation and what you can do to improve it.
Learn About Your Credit Score
One of the most important to get a good handle on when it comes to personal finance is your credit score. Most Americans have a general understanding of what a credit score is, but by definition, a credit score is a number assigned to you that indicates your capacity to pay back a loan to a lender. Think about this three digit number as your borrowers report card, the higher the number, the better. Generally, you want your credit score to be around 800, which is considered excellent and gives you access to great interest rates on loans. However, the average score falls between 600-750. If you’re unsure about your credit card score, pull a soft credit check to get a report of your credit background that doesn’t impact your overall score.
Once you have an idea of where your credit score lands, develop a plan for how you’ll need to improve it if necessary. Improving your credit score involves smart, but simple steps: Make sure you pay all your bills on time, pay off any outstanding debt, and keep the balances on your credit card low.
Involve Your Spouse and Children
Once you have a general idea of your credit score and where you stand in terms of your personal finances, get your immediate family involved. Your spouse is a great person to talk to first, since generally, your assets get tied together when you get married. You may also find that some differences can arise between the two of you that may need to be resolved in order to mutually reach your long term financial goals. Think about the possibility of your children being involved in this process as well, as you can teach them good money habits at a young age.
Think Long Term
When it comes to setting financial goals, thinking long term is never a bad decision. Set yourself up for success through reviewing these important questions:
- How Much Money Do You Want Saved?
- How Much Debt Are You Carrying?
Once you’ve reviewed these essential steps, create a well thought out spending and savings plan. Creating a spending strategy can be quite easy. You can start by creating a calendar of when all your bills and other living costs are due, along with when your paychecks come in. This will help you determine what bills get paid at what time. If some of your bills hit before you expect them to, consider switching to a financial institution that allows you to get your paychecks early, which can help ease the burden of this type of financial setback.
Once you have your plan laid out, the next step is to figure out how much money you have left over after paying all essential expenses. Knowing your residual income will allow you to allocate an amount to specifically savings, while the rest can be spent on entertainment.
Consume information regularly
The best thing you can do to increase your financial knowledge is to consume financial information regularly. In today’s world of technology this is fairly easy to do. Financial information surrounds us, whether you find a great podcast to listen to, or a good book or blog to read. Expanding your knowledge in the financial world will only help you meet your financial goals!
Using tips like these will help you become more financially literate and build a better future for yourself and your family. Staying consistent with these methods will ensure your financial health will be long term focused.