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Posted on January 10, 2019

Simple Strategies To Help Anyone Improve Their Financial Literacy

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No one wants to feel like they’re scrambling for money every month, especially if they’re already working full-time and struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance. However, that seems to be a common occurrence in today’s world of high spending and even higher debt.

Despite the current financial climate, there are many simple ways anyone can improve their financial literacy. We asked a panel of Forbes Finance Council members to share a few of their favorite tactics.

Members of Forbes Finance Council discuss ways to improve financial literacy.PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.

1. Use Your Debit Card Only

As a finance professional, this answer may seem unusual, but I found that, by getting rid of all my credit cards, I changed my spending habits dramatically. The nature of a credit card is that you end up spending more freely and being less disciplined with finances. Using only a debit card has made me much more frugal. – Tyler GallagherRegal Assets

2. Be Mindful Of Interest

When it comes to debt, people don’t realize how much one item actually costs with compounded interest. Large purchases like buying a home can cost more than you think once interest is calculated. Interest is a huge drain on personal income. Be mindful of when you can avoid interest and not just meet the monthly payment. – Sal RehmetullahFattmerchant

3. Meticulously Measure Your Cash Flow

The best and quickest way to improve anything is to measure it. For example, monitor where every dollar is being spent, then dig into the detail of splitting out categories and evaluating if each purchase was really necessary. When you then do your monthly totals of cash in versus cash out, you can see the trends in your spending and adjust according to your goals. You have to track it, and then you can improve it. – Khurram ChohanTogether CFO

4. Read This One Book

Financial success is very easy if you follow some basic principles. Live within your means, use compounding to your advantage and focus on building a legacy that provides for others you care about. All of this and more is covered in the book Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth, by Nick Murray. Read it, do it and reap the benefits. Debt will never be an issue again. – Erik ChristmanOxford Financial Partners

5. Subscribe To A Finance/Money Podcast

In today’s busy world, people don’t always have time to read a finance book or take an online course, but millions of people have a commute to work, and they can use that time to follow a financial podcast like the Dave Ramsey show or Stacking Benjamins. It’s a terrific way to begin learning about financial and investment concepts. – Danielle Kunkle RobertsBoomer Benefits

6. Pay Down Debt Before Saving At Lower Returns

Though it’s important to save, many have credit card debt or loans that are charging higher interest fees than one would earn by placing money in savings accounts, CDs or other vehicles. Remember, if you’re earning a lower interest rate on the money you’re saving versus the interest rates you’re paying on debt, consider paying down your debt before maximizing your savings. – Sina AzariPRESENT FinancialPartners

7. Read The Terms And Conditions Carefully

A lot of people apply for credit cards without reading the fine print or knowing what the interest rate is on the credit cards. Most Americans aren’t able to pay off their entire credit card balances at once. For those who carry a balance, make sure you read the fine print to see what the penalties are and what the finance charges are on the balance that’s carried over. – Ben JenBen Jen Holdings SLLC

8. Use Financial Apps And Tech Tools

Test out some financial tools to help you with budgeting. An app like Mint can help you keep an eye on your monthly cash flow and find out where your money is going. These services can help you look at your credit score, suggest payment plans and provide you with trending articles to help you save and spend your money wisely. All your financial information is in one convenient place. – Greg HerleanHorizon Trust

9. Keep An Eye On Your Credit Score

With all the financial tools and websites available to consumers in today’s digital age, I think Credit Karma does a great job of showing you where you stand with the amount of debt you have and where it’s distributed. They describe what factors contribute to your credit scores in great detail as well as what you should be doing in order to manage your debt to keep your scores as high as possible. – Jared WeitzUnited Capital Source Inc.

10. Create A Household Budget

A great start for anyone would be to create a personal budget for your household. This exercise will push individuals to look at their own finances, more like a business, providing a fun learning experience and great financial control for your future. – Shane HurleyRedFynn Technologies

11. Define Your Financial Goals

Reaching your financial goals can be overwhelming in today’s world of high spending and debt. I suggest that you write down your goals, whether they are paying off debt or starting a college or retirement savings plan. Once you have those goals written down, start off by reading on the issues that are important to you. If possible, use sources that don’t push financial products. – Scott BishopSTA Wealth Management

12. Ask For Help

There’s no shortage of online calculators, virtual courses and expert chatbots, but nothing beats calling a credit counseling agency and getting a free debt analysis from a certified counselor. Why? Because it’s the most personal attention you can get other than being in the room with a financial expert. That call will explore real, proven solutions. – Howard DvorkinDebt.com

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