There are so many areas to address, it’s hard to know where to start, but finding something that interests you, and starting, is an excellent beginning to financial literacy.
Try setting a simple short-term financial goal that you know you can achieve. Perhaps save for something you want, or better yet, set a goal to set aside an emergency fund within the next few months. Start tracking your spending and review it each month, so you know where your money typically goes. That way, you can see where you spend money unnecessarily. If you know where your money goes, you can eliminate unnecessary spending.
Review your bank and credit card statements each time one arrives, and analyze each one carefully until you grasp the relationship you have with every financial institution you deal with. It’s important to know where you stand with each one, spot you’ll know how to negotiate with them. Never allow banks to charge you excessive fees, overdraft charges, and high interest rates.
Obtain a copy of your credit report and read it carefully. Make sure your credit report is accurate and up to date. Maintaining your credit is fundamental to financial literacy in today’s world. Having unnecessarily poor credit can potentially cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime. If you do nothing else, commit to never paying late on any debt you have.
Create a plan to become debt free. Living below your means is imperative. If you spend more than you make, you will sink deeper and deeper into debt. There’s no way around that fundamental fact. Start planning for retirement. Learn about life insurance and buy a policy.
Be flexible and make adjustments as necessary! Any good sailor knows there will be wind, rain, fog and rocky bottoms. There is no straight path to your destination. Most successful people zigzag their way as they make progress. Most progress is slow, and mistakes are made, so take a deep breath and be patient. But above all, get started. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, and never give up. You will make mistakes, so be prepared to pick yourself up and keep going.