Personal finance is becoming more and more of a relevant topic, especially after the 2008 financial crisis. That was a dark time for the country and as the housing bubble burst, it left a trail of job loss and unemployment. For Americans with no reserve funds to speak of, they were forced to operate in the red for months trying to get back up on their feet.
It has compounded debt problems as people were simply unable to meet their payments. They were losing their homes and their jobs and the employment was at an all-time low. A lot of people had to rely on taking out loans and getting deeper in debt just to get by. This scenario has made it a lot more difficult for consumers to climb out of debt.
Personal finance is again at the forefront of financial discussions simply because debt levels in the country are again on the rise. CNN shared that debt levels at the close of 2016 was just $100 billion away from 2008 levels. That is pretty close to the numbers of one of the most challenging years in the economy.
There are people pointing out that this can be an effect of a robust economy. People are a lot more confident to spend because they have the ability to spend. For the most part, they are able to meet their obligations. However, once challenging times come along, it would be a lot more difficult to manage your finances if you are neck-deep in debt. That being said, here are a few ways you can improve your personal finance knowledge to equip you better in managing your money.
There are a number of online resources available to you at this day and age. Though you can still head on out to the library to read up on books, you can do almost the same using a computer. There is a wealth of information out in the open that the challenge at the moment is finding the right one.
That being said, you need conduct due diligence on the sites that you look into. What you need to look for are authority sites that are out there to inform and educate people. There are some debt relief companies that aims to provide quality information out there in hopes of educating their clients. You just have to put in the time and effort in locating trustworthy sources of financial information.
Pieces of advice from family
If you have to look for people who have no other agenda than your welfare, your family would be on top of the list. This should make them one of your trusted sources of pieces of advice on personal financial management. Your parents could be on top of your list because of the first-hand experience in managing personal finance.
You can ask them questions you did not get the chance to ask in school. How they persevered in paying for the house and car all while saving up for your college fund. You can ask other family members whom you feel closely resembles the lifestyle and career choices you want to make. This can, more or less, give you a glimpse of what your financial decisions can lead to.
Technology has come a long way from the analog years and has given rise to the proliferation of smartphones. ZME Science even points out that the first Apollo mission’s computers were less equipped when compared to modern toasters. That goes to show the progress technology has made over the past few decades.
That smartphone that fits in your pocket is at par with some of the big computers of today. It makes them a perfect tool in helping you manage and learn as much as you can when it comes to personal finance.There are mobile applications which can help you budget and even invest your own money. This way, you get to learn on the go.
Personal finance lessons from past experiences
Chances are you have been through a lot in college and even in your first few jobs that you can use those experiences to your advantage. Have you experienced running out of food money in college and had to be resourceful with whatever’s left in your room? Did you find the need to stretch out your first pay because you miscalculated your expenses?
These challenges in life stick with you because you experienced them yourself and they made you who you are today. Trying to find ways in solving problems in the past can make you more resilient in addressing problems you are facing today. You could have been forced to learn how to cook or even to budget because you needed to make ends meet. Problems in the past taught you skills you can use as you manage your personal finance today.
Business Insider shared how successful people share their best money advice to other people to help them manage their own financial journey. You can definitely read up on how some of the most successful people got to where they are at the moment to learn a thing or two. Though they would have different circumstances and challenges to face, you can pick up how they persevered and eventually reached success.
One common thing they have in common is that all of them encounter challenges along the way. The difference with them compared to those dwelling on the “what ifs” of life is that they learned and got back up. That is one common narrative with successful people – they move on and learn from their mistakes. You can do the same and it should make you stronger and wiser when dealing with your finances.
Looking for professional help
There are instances when you might be in a really complicated situation and the best resort is to seek professional help. You might have too much debt at the moment and you seem to be running out of options on how to pay them all back. Working with a financial advisor or a debt relief company can give you the chance to address your financial problems more strategically.
What legitimate debt relief companies would do is to get to know as much as they can about your finances. What your debt obligations are and how your income and funds are coming along. This way, they can propose your best course of action in tackling debt. One of these is debt consolidation in tackling credit card debt.
Consolidating your debt would help you focus on fewer payment details as you combine your obligations under one account. It would also help you manage your payment because if you get to consolidate under a 0% rate, you get to enjoy lower payments. This strategy not only teaches you valuable financial lessons but gives you the chance to save money as well.
It is important to take it upon yourself and aim to improve your personal finance management skills. It can help you make better decisions down the line which would make your finances stronger. As a result, you can face unexpected emergencies head on without getting into debt. You might even get the chance to retire at a time that you want not when you need to.