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Quick tips for improving financial literacy

2. Quick tips for improving financial literacy

Financial literacy involves knowing the basics of budgeting, investing, banking, credit, and managing personal finances. It’s essentially understanding how money functions.

We may have different feelings about money but the fact is that we cannot divorce money from everyday living unless we intend to relocate to a self-sustaining monastery in the middle of nowhere. Money plays a very critical role in human interactions and ignorance of how it works can cause a great deal of pain.

Financial illiteracy is the root of financial struggles. Anywhere you find financial pressure or anxiety, a poor financial decision is not far behind.

So how do you acquire financial literacy?

Acquiring financial literacy is getting easier as technology makes access to information and content a few clicks away. Finding most information is as simple as looking for it online.

Here are some simple ways to become financially literate.

1. Decide to become financially literate

This is the most important step. Every journey, achievement, action, you name it, starts with a decision. It may start as a wish, desire, goal etc. The moment you decide to start, you are well on your way. Making a decision is not as easy as it seems. Making a decision means that your mind is fully made up to do something. You may have talked about it, wished, written it down, made a manifesto, or even started on it. Until your mind is fully made up, chances are, you will turn back.

We all have a thing we want to do but don’t get to start or drop off along the line. No matter what takes you there – pain, determination etc, a time comes you finally make up your mind to pay the price necessary to go through it. That is where it starts.

2. Read

Immerse yourself in reading materials like books, magazines, blogs, and government resources on personal finance. Allocate time regularly to study money management, investing, credit, and finances. Identify the strategies that resonate with you and the authors who explain things clearly. Remember, personal finance is not overly complex, and you can always find valuable information online.

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Do your research to find what you are looking for. You can read book excerpts and reviews before deciding on the title to buy.

Make time in your schedule to read. You can take time from watching TV, surfing the internet or social media etc to read. If you don’t have that luxury, you can read during the commute (if you are not driving) or before going to bed. You may also find other creative ways to slot in reading in your daily routine.

3. Listen

Listen to podcasts, audiobooks, financial programs on radio etc. You can cover much ground by listening, and you can listen on the go. You can listen while driving, commuting, exercising, doing chores, going for a walk or running errands or whenever you have time during the day. According to Brian Tracy, don’t move your car without an audio program on. Learn on the move.

A lot of people who hardly have time to read can easily slide in an earpiece and listen on the go.

Listen several times. The more you listen, the more you get.

4. Watch

You can also watch finance programs related to growing your knowledge in different aspects of financial literacy. It could be TV, cable, videos on YouTube, TikTok that you can get TikTok likes, Facebook and other social media platforms.

If you love watching TV or spending time on social media consuming others’ content, you can devote a chunk of that time to growing your financial literacy level by watching financial content. There are also finance themed films and TV series you can watch, having fun while you learn.

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5. Use financial management tools

Financial management tools provide a hands-on experience in learning and putting into action things you have learned. It could be a budget program or app, savings calculator, mortgage calculator, investment tools, online calculators etc.

These help you organize your finances, make projections and make learning fun. You get to see how actions you take affect your overall financial outcomes.

6. Take a Financial Literacy Course

You can also take a financial literacy course which is readily available online. All you have to do is search. There are free and paid ones offered by individuals, online schools, adult education centres etc.

Financial literacy is increasingly becoming mainstream. Before now, the subject of money was not taught in schools. That is starting to change. More schools are starting to offer financial literacy programs. Banks and organizations are also sponsoring financial literacy programs to deepen financial inclusion and deepen their client base.

7. Switch from consumption to investing

Focusing on how to make more money with what you have rather than what to buy with it helps give you the drive to learn how to manage your money better.

As you continue with your financial literacy journey, it becomes apparent that the key to success in growing wealth is delaying gratification. The pleasure instant gratification brings is brief compared to the pain of missed opportunities. It was that pain that motivated me to break that cycle of earning to spend to earning to invest.

You can get so caught up with keeping up with the Joneses without realizing that you have lost your way financially, ending up with nothing to show for so many years of hard labour.

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8. Practice and Teach others

The best way to own what you have learned is to practice. If you learn and simply move on to the next thing, without solidifying what you have learned, you’ll likely lose it. It is like closing a file on your computer without saving it to the hard drive. Similarly, no matter how many classes you attend on driving or swimming if you don’t practise, it doesn’t become a part of you.

Putting it into practice makes it real. It gives you the confidence to navigate the financial world, especially while interacting with service providers. You know what you are talking about and have a sense of whether the other party knows what they are talking about. You are not easily bamboozled or taken for a ride. You know the right questions to ask. The answers you get are based on the questions you ask.

Teaching what you know deepens your knowledge to another level. You can teach your friends, family members, colleagues etc. You can become the go-to person in your neighbourhood or residents association based on the quality of your contributions, especially regarding financial management.

9. You can become your financial expert

You don’t need to have a finance degree to become your financial expert. Same as you don’t need a degree to become a parent or a spiritual person or a good leader. These are learnable skills if you make up your mind to embark on that journey.

Financial management is not rocket science. Where there is a will, there is a way. The moment your mind is fully made up and you embark on the journey with an open mind and teachable spirit, you can achieve what you set out to achieve if you pay the price necessary.

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