Entries with tag financial literacy .

5 Free Ways to Improve Your Financial Literacy

You don’t have to be a trained professional to know how to create a budget for your family, or set realistic financial goals. There are many free resources which makes gaining a solid financial education easier than ever before.

In celebration of National Financial Literacy Month, here are five free ways to improve your financial literacy.

1. Develop a financial plan.  Clearly identify your financial goals and write them out. Some questions to ask yourself when developing this plan are:

a.       What are the financial goals I hope to achieve?

b.       What is the timeframe in which I’d like to reach each goal?

c.       What changes will I make to ensure I reach my financial goals by the specified timeframe?

Be sure to make the plan realistic!  Start by making a short-term goal and make small adjustments as needed to ensure the plan is solid enough to be followed through in the long-term.

And, don’t ditch your financial plan if a small problem arises and affects your current money situation. Be flexible!

If you need a little further assistance in coordinating a plan, use a free calculators like WealthRuler. It can be a big help when devising a financial plan to pursue your goals.

2. Take advantage of free education.  Visit your local public library and gain access to their collection of financial educational materials.  Many locations offer more than simply a selection of financial magazines and books. Personal finance workshops are often available that can teach you everything from balancing a checkbook to managing your money.

3. Follow finance websites. There are a variety of blogs and financial sites easily accessible through the internet. Follow those sites and pay close attention to the tips that are offered daily related to getting financially prepared for your future. You can also follow financial news outlets and your favorite finance gurus on social media to get their up-to-the minute updates. And don’t forget about the free government resources available online. Sites like the US Dept. of Treasury’s Office of the Controller of the Currency and The US Federal Reserve are full of information, from basic financial literacy to advice and educational information for kids and teens. 

4. Know your credit rating. It’s important to keep an eye on your credit score so you know where you stand when you apply for things, such as a mortgage, credit card, etc. There are a number of services that offer credit reports without charging fees.

5. Commit to learning. Financial education should be a continuous learning opportunity!  Make it an ongoing priority each year to learn more about financial literacy.

How do you continue to improve your financial knowledge? Share with us in the comments!

Wait, I thought you were paying my college tuition?

April is National Financial Literacy Month, and it's also the month that we highlight some important results from our annual Teens & Personal Finance survey.

Junior Achievement has conducted the Teens & Personal Finance Survey for the last 16 years, partnering with The Allstate Foundation since 2005. Each year the survey asks U.S. teens, ages 13-18, questions about personal finance and attitudes on saving and spending money. This year, for the first time, we expanded the survey to also ask parents of teens their thoughts on personal finance and their teens' knowledge of certain money management skills. Talking with parents gave us some really interesting insights about the differences between parents and teens.

We learned that parents aren't talking to their kids enough about money management in general. As the above graphic shows, eighty-four percent of teens name their parents as their main source for learning about money management, yet more than a third of parents (34%) say they do not discuss money matters with their children and "let kids be kids." How can we expect our kids to learn if we're not willing to teach them?

Even more interesting, when parents are talking to their kids about money, they are may be leaving girls out of the conversation. Forty percent of girls say their parents aren't talking to them enough about money management, compared to only 24% of boys.

The gender gap continues in personal finance lessons from parents. Boys report getting allowance more often than girls for good grades (34% to 24%) and completing chores (48% to 38%).

Data also shows that women (teens and parents) have lower expectations about potential earning power. Moms are significantly more likely than dads to say their child will earn $15k or less at their first job after graduation (26% vs. 17%). Teen girls continue the trend: 24% of girls think they will make $15k or less at their first job compared to only 16% of boys who feel the same. We need to be equipping both boys and girls with the skills they will need to lead financially independent lives. 

Additionally, the survey results showed that parents and teens aren't talking about how to pay for college.

Nearly half of teens (48%) think their parents will help for college but only 16% of parents say they are planning to pay for their child's post-secondary education. Additionally, interest in community college is on the rise. When asked to consider the rising cost of college, a larger number of teens in 2015 are considering attending local community college instead of another college or university: 22 percent in 2014 rose to 29 percent in 2015.

To read more about the survey and learn how you can start these conversations with your teens, click here

Celebrate Financial Literacy Month with JA


April is National Financial Literacy Month. That’s a big deal to us at JA, since financial literacy, in addition to entrepreneurship and work readiness, is one of the three pillars that guide our programs.

So, what exactly is financial literacy?

Financial literacy is understanding how money works – how to earn money, spend wisely, save for the future, invest and give back. And, it’s more important now than ever.

According to statistics compiled by Gen Y Planning, only 40 percent of U.S. adults keep a budget and track their expenses and 76 percent report that they live “paycheck to paycheck.” Savings aren’t looking so great either. A full 50 percent of respondents said that they have less than three months of expenses saved up, while 27 percent reported that they have no savings at all. This is all the worse given that the average time a person spends unemployed after losing a job is more than 7 months!

Junior Achievement is dedicated to teaching young people the importance of building strong personal finances for a happy and secure life. We hope you’ll check back in with us throughout April as we share tips on how to improve your financial literacy, teach your children about managing money and how JA is helping!

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