Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Four Ways to Help You Become More Financially Literate

Is financial freedom elusive to the financially illiterate? I certainly don’t want to find out. I am by no means an expert on the world of personal finance, but I do consider myself a life long student of the subject as I am always learning.

We are not taught a lot about personal finance in school. Unless we are taught by our parents or care-givers, we are quite frankly on our own. And there is so much to learn from the most basic of budgeting to home-buying/ownership to retirement and estate planning. It can be very over-whelming.

1. Read, read, read. And then read some more. Look for books, magazines, trustworthy websites related to your financial goals. My favorite personal finance magazines are Kiplinger Personal Finance and Money . I feel like they talk to the average person. Their topics range from: current financial news, home-ownership, investing, practical money-saving tips and so much more. There are currently two books on my bedside table right now, The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing and Your Money or Your Life .

2. Take a class...or two or three. I have taken classes on home-buying, retirement planning and investing through our credit union, our church, my former employer’s ‘brown bag lunch’ series, and our county’s extension office. Most of these classes were free or there was a small nominal fee. Also, check your local community college for adult, non-credit courses. Keep those eyes and ears open for opportunities.

3. Find a financial mentor. Is there someone in your life, whether it is a friend or family member that you look up to for advice? Maybe this person has achieved the financial freedom that you desire. This can be tricky, especially since personal finances can be a taboo subject to discuss openly. Does this person appear to make wise financial decisions for him or herself? And also, would they be willing to give you some guidance and advice?

4. Engage in on-line forums, like Early-Retirement.org and Bogleheads.org. I like these forums for investment discussions. People are very open about their finances on these forums and many people are asking the same questions that I have about investments. It is definitely a case where you could ask an investment question and get 20 different answers. You will have to disseminate the good advice from the bad advice, but I am finding these forums helpful.

How financially literate are you? What are some things that have helped you to become more financially literate?

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  1. Surrounding myself in a social circle of others that are open with their finances has helped immensely. We end up exchanging ideas and brainstorming.

  2. Good place to start. I think the reading idea is invaluable, I've been a professional investor for many years and I still read in the area! (This one's going in my round up)

  3. I agree with your article. They're good tips for managing budgeting.

  4. I have read numerous books & articles. I also attended Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class. The class was the best thing because of the group discussions

  5. I would say read and also be sure to have a logical, well thought out reason for doing everything. If you choose to find a mentor, make sure they are able to explain their decisions in plain English!

  6. A great place to start is your blog roll. You have some GREAT Sites up there (even though you may have forgotten Evan lol). The archives of any one of those sites will provide insight into getting started with your Personal Finances.

  7. I use business channels and their programs in taxes, investments etc they are really good and explain the situation with practical queries.


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