Spring is right around the corner and you know what that means: your annual spring cleaning ritual is ready to commence.
As you don your yellow gloves, pick up a duster, and get ready to apply a little elbow grease to your inner sanctuary, think outside the box this year. Not everything deserving of a good dusting this springtime is a physical object in your home.
Sometimes, what need the most TLC are your personal finances.
For the average American, de-cluttering their homes is much easier than organizing their finances. A recent survey conducted by Research Now, a market research organization, analyzed the country’s financial literacy.
Being financially literate means you understand how to manage money and make responsible decisions regarding your assets. It covers everything from basic budgets and debt reduction to investments and retirement planning.
Unfortunately, Research Now discovered most Americans failed their standards.
Fewer than 40% of those surveyed knew the APR of their primary credit card, approximately 44% weren’t aware of what a credit score measures, and nearly 60% didn’t have enough savings set aside to cover 6 months of unemployment. They concluded much of the country wasn’t financially literate.
With tax season approaching, a springtime cleanup of your files is a perfect opportunity to improve your own financial literacy. But unlike spring cleaning, which usually has a very clear start and end date, your education isn’t as simple.
The road to becoming financially literate is a long one. For most, it’s a lifelong commitment to learning and gaining practical experience about the financial world.
If you want to start your journey on the right foot, begin your informal education with reliable financial resources. Since Donald Trump took office this January, the White House website underwent significant changes.
While some site pages disappeared completely, the Trump Administration left the financial portal untouched.
Congress has declared April to be National Financial Literacy month, and to support it the U.S. Treasury Department has cooperated with the Financial Literacy and Education Commission to promote financial education next month.
They’re also available all year round to help you with your most burning financial questions. Just another click away is MyMoney.gov, a site dedicated to equipping Americans with the right tools to tackle their finances.
It teaches the basics about budgeting, debt reduction, investments, and buying a home.
In addition to the government, there are a variety of online resources that can supplement your growing knowledge base. If you’ve taken advantage of a short term loan in the past, your lender can be of great help when it comes to proven tips and techniques.
Direct lenders like the folks at MoneyKey offer up advice made with their customers in mind. When you check out their blog, you can read up on financial recommendations for those currently using or paying back their loans.
As you scroll through Moneykey.com/blog/ you’ll find a variety of ways to spend your money responsibly — from wallet-friendly recipes to budget-happy activities that can help you save more.
Whether you pick up the paper from the corner store or open it up directly on your tablet, reading up on the financial section can help you broaden your knowledge base.
Pair them with esteemed financial publications like The Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Fortune to get a sense of where your personal finances fit on a grander scale.
These sources are especially helpful if you’ve decided to learn about investments and the stock market.
Depending on your schedule and your financial capabilities, you might event want to invest in adult education. Your local municipality may offer courses that go over the biggest lessons of personal money management, so it’s worth investigating their programs.
If you’re willing to spend a little bit more, you can enroll in online courses offered by colleges and universities from across the country and around the world.
There’s no limit to what you can or should do to improve your understanding of money. It’s up to you how much time, effort, and money you want to sink into your education. But the first step is to take stock of your situation and learn where you’re lacking.