As April comes to a close so too does Financial Literacy Month. If you’ve learned only one thing throughout the process it should be that financial literacy doesn’t come to a screeching halt when the calendar flips over to May.
In fact, it’s quite the contrary. Financial literacy is more than a monthly fad; it’s more than a seasonal preoccupation. A person who has their finances under control and manages money wisely is forever applying the principals of financial literacy and, when applicable, learning new skills to secure their financial future.
“But I’m too young for that kind of long-term relationship,” you might be thinking. You’re not alone in that thinking; 42 percent of teens surveyed in a recent H&R Block Dollars & Sense Gen Z survey said they aren’t “financially fit.”
Don’t panic — wipe off those sweaty palms and get your heart rate under control. This lifelong commitment is simple to maintain and won’t get angry if you spend time with other professional commitments. Just follow these three easy ways to begin the journey to increasing your financial literacy:
- Check your bank account regularly
It’s like checking your Instagram feed except it has positive consequences on your adult life. Virtually all banking institutions have their own app, so download it and start using it to track your expenses. What are you spending your money on? Where can you save? Are there any unauthorized charges on your account? You can even set alerts and schedule payments so you’ll never incur late fees.
- Browse the finance section of a paper
The people who write those articles are sharing some gems of knowledge. Take a gander every now and then to see if you can learn a thing or two. Even one financial tip learned could make a huge difference. And if nothing else, you’ll be able to start your next conversation by saying, “I read it in an article.” College professors go nuts for it.
- Ask questions
This tidbit applies to every facet of life, but it’s especially pertinent in financial literacy. If you don’t understand something about your account or why a certain amount was deducted, ask your bank for answers. When it comes to your finances, there are no dumb questions. The dumb thing is losing money because you’re afraid to ask.
If you find your relationship with money is moving along nicely, and you’re thinking about getting more serious, explore if there are personal finance courses offered at your school (or even ask your teachers to get involved in the H&R Block Budget Challenge!) Students who have taken a class in personal finance are more likely to engage in financially responsible behaviors like saving, budgeting and investing.