When someone starts discussing finances or bringing up personal questions around how you handle money, you may not want to share any details of your own. Don’t worry, though, this is completely normal and you are not alone. A recent Intuit Turbo survey revealed that 70% of Americans consider money an intimate topic, even more so than politics (36%) or religion (40%).
We get it, it can be difficult to be an open book about your student loan debt or how you don’t have enough money in your emergency account. However, by being more honest and candid with yourself about your financial situation, it makes it easier to get a better grasp on things.
Regardless of if you’re a beginning learner or knowledgable expert, it’s always important to understand the fundamentals of your finances in order to reach your financial goals and feel more comfortable having #RealMoneyTalk conversations.
- Establish simple money habits and reconcile your bank account each month. As soon as your bank statement comes in the mail or appears in your inbox, go over it to be sure that your records agree.
- Use financial tools. Financial apps are your friend, and they are designed to be user-friendly. Intuit has a great free app called Mint, where you can track your finances and become a master of all things financial in your life. Intuit also has the free Turbo app which gives you your credit score, income, debt and credit accounts all in one place so you know where you stand and how lenders view you. Turbo can also give you personalized tips and scenario planning to help you with your financial goals and decisions.
- Take a course. Most community colleges have community outreach programs in finance, taught by a financial planner in your community over a four to six week period. If you don’t have anything in your area that fits your schedule, search online for a course you can do online.
- Join with friends. Your friends are likely in the same financial literacy boat as you are, so band together to improve your finances. There are tools online such as those at MoneyClubs.com to help you create fun and educational get-togethers where you learn and empower each other. That’s what friends are for!
- Use your eyes and ears. Read books about finances in areas that interest you – debt reduction, money mindsets, investing basics, or taxes. If reading isn’t your thing, watch financial videos on the internet, or go to free financial seminars in your community.
And once you have started learning more about finances, educate your kids and involve them as much as you can. Financial literacy is best when it’s started young and at home.