Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Financial Literacy is Your Responsibility

Financial Literacy


**This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get paid from the company if you purchase the product. For more information, you can check my disclaimer, and I promise to only recommend products I've tried and love.**

I hate the fact that you go through 12 years of school and come out the other side knowing little to nothing about finance. You'll be taught how to solve complex algebra equations but have zero clue how interest rates work and how detrimental credit card debt can be. I promise you, the ability to do algebra has never once helped me get a job or complete a work project, but knowing how to balance a budget sure has. There has been some movement to correct this, but not fast enough. You know what that means though? You are in charge of making sure you know what's up! 

Sure you can blame a lack of education as the reason you are in debt and don't have a handle on your money, but nobody is going to give you much sympathy. Everyone's in the same boat. Humans are not built with an innate sense of being good with money...we really like the instant gratification that comes with spending money. But, it's a skill you can learn, and there are a ton of resources out there with the goal of teaching you to do just that. And since you are currently reading a personal finance blog, you're already on the right track. 

So where can you turn? 

Hello Internet! 
Obviously, you have to take everything you read on the internet with a grain of salt as everyone and their dog can pretend to be an expert, but it's also a fantastic resource. Who hasn't gone to YouTube to figure out how to fold a fitted sheet (a skill I will never master)? Or browsed Pinterest for a new recipe? For your money issues, there are endless personal finance blogs to help walk you through everything you could possibly need. I've written about a few of my favourite lady money bloggers, but you should also check out Rockstar Finance. They have put together a huge searchable directory of personal finance blogs, and I guarantee you'll find something relevant to you. 

Books
There are almost as many books on money as there are blogs (maybe even more), so how do you know where to start? To get you started, here are a few of my personal favourites. 

My parents gave me the first Wealthy Barber book to read when I was in high school (which at the time I thought was super lame), but I did read it, and it's the perfect introduction to managing your finances. It's written almost like a novel, so it's quick and easy to get through but packed with valuable info. David Chilton is Canadian, so it does cover topics that are only relevant to those of us in the Great White North, but there's still general info that can apply to anyone. The second book carries on with even more info, and I promise you'll fly through them while still learning a lot. 

Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
This one is pretty much a classic and for good reason. Honestly, this book wasn't exactly an enjoyable read for me as I found it a bit repetitive and got sick of all the personal testimonials. However, if you follow Dave's steps, you will absolutely notice a huge difference in your finances. This book didn't turn me into a huge Dave Ramsey fan, but he knows his stuff and his plan works. The Total Money Makeover can give you the kick in the butt you need to really get serious about your money. 

Broke Millenial by Erin Lowry
A newbie to the book scene and likely a lot more relevant to many of my readers because it's written by a female millennial. Full disclosure, I haven't actually read this one yet (I'm on the waiting list at the library) but have heard rave reviews from people I trust. I've also followed Erin's blog for a long time, and her writing and advice are always on point. 

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
Ok, this isn't exactly a personal finance book. Sheryl Sandberg has held high-ranking positions with Facebook and Google and runs the Lean In Foundation, which has a goal of inspiring young woman to reach their goals. This book is perfect for new graduates who are getting started on their career path (there actually is a graduate edition). Sheryl shares personal stories and practical tips that will help you navigate the corporate world (especially as a woman). She deals with common issues like speaking out, getting promoted, and having kids. 

The Behavior Gap by Carl Richards
Ever wonder why the 'buy low and sell high' concept is so challenging? This book answers that question and many more. It's an interesting read for beginner investors because it will help you overcome some of the most common behaviours that can hurt your chance of investing success. Simply being aware of how humans instinctively act, will give you an advantage over others who let their emotions dictate their decisions. 

Parents
If there's one thing parents love it's you...and parenting. 


They also have a lot more years of experience and can be a resource for you. Plus, asking your parents for advice always makes them feel good...win-win. For many people (myself included), the majority of our financial knowledge comes from what your parents taught you when you were growing up. Even if they weren't the best role models for handling money, they can likely still help. Sometimes making mistakes teaches you more than always doing the right thing. 

Financial Advisor
A common complaint I hear from Millennials is that they don't think they can work with an advisor because they don't have much in the way of assets. Sure, this might be the case in some situations, but it isn't always so. One option you have is to go the non-traditional route and hire a fee for service planner. You'll be able to get expert advice with no investment obligation by paying an hourly rate for their time. Another option is to take advantage of your parent's financial advisor. There is a good chance they would be willing to take you on as a client as a favour to your parents. Even if your assets are low right now, they should be of the mindset that your parent's money could one day become your money. 

You can also check out this post for additional tips on finding an advisor. 

There you have it, four resources to find everything you need to know about personal finance. No excuses ok? You might even find that you love learning about money and will be the next blogger on the block! And if you do have a question you can't find an answer to, post it down in comments, and I'll do my very best to help. 

Financial Literacy

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