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Consumer Tip of the Week

 Financial Education

Managing money is a life skill crucial for financial success. It takes work to get your finances in order, from regular budgeting and monitoring to planning for your children’s educational expenses. Most of us, not born with the natural inclination nor taught the necessary skills in school, have to work for it. It takes a dedication to learning, to teaching ourselves really. Sometimes it even takes relearning the financial basics, especially if you have learned them simply from watching your parents.

The MintLife blog has a great article on adult financial education:

Schedule Weekly Money Dates. Studies show that millionaires spend, on average, 8.4 hours a month managing and planning out their finances. Set up a recurring event in your calendar for a weekly Money Date, and allocate at least one hour a week to your finances. During your Money Date, you should update your budget, review any upcoming expenses, pay bills (although you should automate those as much as possible), review your accounts for accuracy and handle any other pressing financial matters.

Commit to reading about personal finance for 20 minutes a week. Don’t try to learn everything about personal finance all at once. Instead, break up your financial education into digestible chunks. Allocate 20 minutes a week (as part of or in addition to your money date) and read about personal finance topics. Choose one topic a week and read about just that topic until you understand it, and then move on to something else.

Talk to people you look up to. As you begin to learn about personal finance topics such as spending, saving, credit, debt, investing, retirement strategies, etc., begin to apply what you learn by talking about it with those you admire. Talk to your mentors and other entrepreneurs you know who are successful in their financial lives. Also, note that talking about money is still a sensitive subject for many people, so start small and work your way into more in-depth conversations.

Test out strategies in your own life. Most entrepreneurs realize that the best way to learn if a business idea will work or not is to test it out. This same philosophy is true with your personal finances. There are tons of methods you can use to budget your monthly income and expenses, but you won’t know what works best for you until you try.

Additional Resources

Money 101:And article with 27 financial tips to live by

Budgeting Tools: An article with great budgeting tools

Financial Books: An article listing the 10 most popular of all time

For more information, please visit the Consumer section of www.montanalawhelp.org/.  Or, call the Montana Legal Services Association Helpline at 1-800-666-6899.

This Consumer Tip and MontanaLawHelp.org is a joint project of Montana's Credit Unions and Montana Legal Services Association.  MontanaLawHelp.org has information about consumer issues, housing, money management, and more.

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