1 – Build in Reading Time
There is a wealth of financial education information out there waiting to be tapped. Search and seek out trusted sources (like the suggestions below) and make a point to allocate some reading time once each week or more.
- Talk to people you know in the financial industry and ask what their sources are for personal financial articles, websites, and books.
- Visit your financial institution’s website for potential resources. At myMAX.com, we have financial advice articles on a wide range of topics for each stage of life and financial need. Check out our Learn & Plan section today.
- If reading isn’t really your thing, consider audiobooks or financial podcasts. This can be a great way to fill the commute to work while broadening your financial know-how.
- Bookmark websites that are trusted sources for information. Here are a few we recommend:
o Federal Trade Commission: Advice for Consumers: Check out the FTC’s free resources for consumers at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/ for information on money and credit, homes and mortgages, privacy and identity, jobs and making money, and more.
o myFICO: Learn more about your credit report, credit score, how to build or repair credit, and more at https://www.myfico.com/. Most resources on this site are free, but some products and information are included in a subscription.
o Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: The CFPB website is chock full of tools and information about credit, debt, and loans, to paying for college and saving for retirement. There are also resources for teaching your kids about money as well that make learning fun and interesting.
2 – Ask for Expert Advice
Talk to an experienced advisor who can help you budget and save. Financial advisors can help you look at the big picture of your finances and help you find ways to better manage them to reach your particular financial goals.
3 – Set Goals
Take some time to reflect on what your financial goals are and what you need to save for.
- Decide what is important to you, and prioritize your goals, both short term and long term.
- Set goals that fit within your budget and that are attainable.
- Goals should be specific and time-bound to help you stay on track and visualize where you want to be.
4 – Use a Financial Management Tool
A great way to learn how you are saving and spending money is through a personal financial management tool (like our Smartfolio). These services not only help you manage your money, they can help you budget, save, and spend more effectively. Most services include a budget tool to help you plan where your money is going and compare it to how you actually spend it. They also include goal trackers for just about any financial goal you could need, such for as paying off a credit card, saving for a down payment on a home, or just creating a cushion of savings in case you need. When you use a financial management tool, you are continually developing and honing your financial habits and learning what solutions work for you.
5 – Take Action
Now it’s just a matter of making a habit to continually build and hone your knowledge. Build a plan to work purposefully towards educating yourself on how you can gain financial freedom. Check out our budget and goals worksheet to get started!