4 ways to improve your financial literacy
Preparing for the unexpected is part of military life, but many military families are not financially prepared for a variety of reasons. In the 2020 Military Family Life Survey, 77% of military families reported Paymore than $ 200 per month in reimbursable housing costs. In the 2019 Survey of Military Economies, more than half (57%) of those surveyed said: “Unexpected expenses are the biggest challenge in saving.”
But knowing you’re supposed to save and doing it are two different things, with many obstacles involved that may be beyond your control. And once you’ve registered, do you know what to do next? By taking the time to improve your financial literacy, you’ll know what steps to take when you’re ready.
Listen to financial podcasts
Podcasts can help you learn more about money, make better financial decisions, or just be better informed.
So much money
Host Farnoosh Torabi talks to entrepreneurs, writers and influencers about money management. Weekly episodes focus on paying credit cards, growing a business, and managing finances as a couple. The podcast is a great place to start expanding your finance knowledge. Listen on itunes.
Money for the rest of us
If you are interested in what investing is then this is the podcast to listen to. Host David Stein combines personal stories with research to explain the world of investing. Concepts such as portfolio balancing, how market cycles work, and how to invest even with a small amount of money are covered. Listen on itunes.
The fairest cents
For women interested in topics like the gender pay gap or how to overcome barriers like caregiving in their financial journey, The Fairer Cents is the place to start. Focused on the financial well-being of women with a feminist focus, co-hosts Kara Perez and Tanja Hester interview behavior specialists and finance gurus to introduce listeners to these women-centric issues. Listen on itunes.
If you are looking to retire early or perhaps completely after 20 years in the military, you may be familiar with the movement to secure financial independence to achieve this goal. This podcast explores this concept and provides you with some takeaways while challenging you to take action towards your financial freedom. Listen online.
The spectacle of military money
Military spouse, mother and Aviation Veteran Lacey Langford hosts The Military Money Show, a podcast that helps military-related listeners learn more about money. From making money, saving, investing and spending it wisely, Langford – a Certified Financial Advisor – interviews guests and shares her personal finance experiences. Listen online.
The money mill
Conversations about money vary widely from generation to generation, but mother-daughter duo Ellie Kay and Bethany Bayless are crushing that gap and talking all about money. The Money Millhouse podcast gives you financial advice you didn’t know you didn’t know. You will feel like you are sitting across from an old friend while listening to this conversation and, most importantly, you will come away with great ideas for your financial future. Listen online.
Read personal finance books
Reading is a great way to learn, and there is no shortage of financial books to help you improve. From specific topics, like investing and saving, to broader readings that talk about the path to financial independence, here are some recommendations. And don’t forget your local library, where you can get most of these books for free.
“ Broke Millennial: Stop Snacking and Gather Your Financial Life ” by Erin Lowry
Instead of telling you how horrible credit card debt is, Erin Lowry offers you a step-by-step process to go from broke to financial mastery. She writes in a way that identifies with her millennial audience, including how to understand your relationship with money, how to manage your student loans, and how to navigate social situations without embarrassment. Lowry also discusses the importance of being “financially naked” with your partner – a must for anyone looking for a financially secure future.
“ The Auto Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and End Up Rich, ” by David Bach
The main financial principle of Bach is to automate finances. He believes that automating the important things like saving, paying off debt will get you to the point where your finances will take care of themselves. His book includes a plan that can be put in place in an afternoon and have a lasting impact on your financial future.
“ You Are Money Badass: Master the Wealth Mindset ” by Jen Sincero
In her third book, Sincero applies his inspiring approach to life to finance. She’s light and real in this book, which makes it perfect for those who need a boost more than practical, actionable financial advice. If you’re into a reading funk or if the heaviness of some drier books gets too heavy, this is a great way to break things up.
“Why didn’t they teach me that at school?” by Cary Siegel
After learning how little his kids learned about money management in school, author Cary Siegel discusses 99 such things in his book. Organized into eight lessons, these principles are designed to educate people of all ages. It’s a great book to read when you only have a few minutes at a time, because Siegel gets right to the point.
“ Your Money or Your Life ”, by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
Do you spend less money with being happy? Few people make this connection, but Robin and Dominguez do their book on transforming your relationship with money. Money doesn’t have to make you miserable, and in some cases, less money can make you happier. The authors argue that overall, life is about learning to manage your budget, living within your means, and changing your habits so that you can enjoy life.
Update your budget or learn to budget
Whether you’re refreshing your budget or starting from scratch, you can follow the same steps.
Determine why you want to budget or set your budget. Do you need to save more money for a future trip or is there a change in your income? Finding out why your budget needs to be adjusted will help you refine the decisions you make to adjust it.
“Anytime you have a major change in your life, like a marriage, childbirth, PCS, or job change, you need to re-evaluate your plan,” said Lila Quintiliani, senior program manager at Military Saves.
Watch where you spend the money. The basic budgeting principles of money going in and money out are only useful when you know where the money is going. Check back over the past couple of months to see where your money was spent, or be sure to keep track of next month’s spending if you haven’t tracked it recently.
“Budgeting is not just about cutting unnecessary expenses and counting pennies,” said Charlene Wilde, deputy secretary of the American Armed Forces Service Association, “It’s a great way to better understand your full financial situation and build confidence in your decision making. “
Make a list of all bills, especially those that are not on a regular schedule. For example, be sure to include annual bills, such as vehicle registration, homeowner’s association dues, and property taxes. Setting aside money each month to pay these fees can help you stay on budget than being surprised with large payments.
“Take advantage of the budget and expense calculators,” Wilde said. “These are available for free online through many banks or third-party financial literacy apps. They provide an easy and accessible way to stay on track.”
EveryDollar, Mint, and You Need a Budget are popular choices for online budget programs.
“Active service members and their families can get free help creating their spending plan from accredited financial professionals at their facility’s Family Readiness Center,” said Quintiliani. “For those who do not have access to a facility, they can get free advice. From accredited financial advisers through our partners at Yellow ribbon network. “
But just like when considering a new diet, the best budget plan is the one you stick with.
Follow the financially savvy people on social media
A great way to learn is to surround yourself with experts, and social media matters! Follow these financially savvy people on social media and start learning some of their skills and knowledge.
Military dollar – An anonymous military officer whose goal is to share the information military personnel need to simplify their personal finances.
Kate horrell, The Military Finance Coach – The military spouse, mother and certified financial advisor loves discussing retirement savings options and provides her followers with plenty of information.
Doug Nordman – Author of “The Military Guide”, retired submariner, keen surfer and guide for servicemen wishing to retire early – that is, without a second career.
Christine Lagarde – Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, first woman to become Minister of Finance in a G8 economy and first woman to head the IMF.
Jen Smith, modern frugality – Repaid $ 78,000 in debt. Sharing on how to cut expenses and free up money to make extra payments on student loans.
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