On April 2, I joined Fox 2 St. Louis to talk about saving for retirement as part of Financial Literacy Month. (Click here or the image to see the replay.)
Most people are ill-equipped to make good financial decisions when they become adults because basic personal finance isn’t part of high school or college curriculum. This is something I’ve talked about when sharing the first money lesson I learned as a kid and it’s a big reason I decided to give my four-year-old an allowance.
We know big financial mistakes can be costly, but the small stuff adds up too – literally. The power of compounding magnifies your good and bad decisions over time.
Another less obvious but equally important implication of poor financial literacy is that it leaves you vulnerable to salespeople in the finance industry who may take advantage of a lack of knowledge. Not all financial professionals work with your best interests in mind when they sell products and services.
There aren’t many easy fixes when it comes to increasing your financial literacy. You have to do the hard work of educating yourself. The good news is that you have many options for doing so.
You can read internet articles or blogs, listen to podcasts, or watch videos – but even that can come with potential pitfalls, so proceed with caution and always consider the source. With so many people publishing content and no editorial watchdog, you can run the risk of leaning on content that isn’t objective or honest.
That’s why my preference for becoming more educated about personal finances is reading books because it’s easier to discern legitimate resources from more questionable ones.
If you want to get started but need help with the basics, my favorite investing basics are The Elements of Investing and The Little Book of Common Sense Investing – both of which are on a list of investing titles I originally published for Forbes.
I’ve also written my own book that will help you get your entire financial house in order and keep it that way forever. You can look for that on shelves in early 2019, but in the meantime, you can sign up here for updates.