The first step to achieving financial independence is to become financially literate. Becoming financially literate means understanding how the world of finance operates. What rules and laws govern that world? When you learn how the finance world works, then you can make better decisions about what rules to follow and what rules to break. Developing financial literacy takes time, since you will always have more to learn, but getting started is quite simple. Here are 7 ways to achieve financial literacy that you can start doing today.
1. Pick up the paper
Start reading everything you can about finance. Yes, you can buy books on the subject (or better yet, check them out at the library or download them) but you can also learn a lot just by reading the finance section of your local paper. If physical newspapers are not your thing, you can also read the financial section of the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Fortune, Forbes and Money.
2. Read Rich Dad, Poor Dad
While much of the financial advice in this book flies in the face of traditional investment wisdom, there are reasons it remains one of the bestselling financial books of all time. Just remember, don’t believe everything you read, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up some great advice.
3. Avoid “get rich quick” schemes
One of the fastest ways to lose all your money is to invest in pyramid schemes. The world – and the internet – is full of people promising you fast wealth and instant results. There is no quick and easy path to wealth. There are longer ways and shorter ways, but they all take discipline, determination and patience. Don’t believe anyone that tells you differently, and definitely don’t give them your money.
4. Use financial management tools
Before you can build wealth, you must understand your own habits and patterns and what you are currently doing with the money you have. Personal financial management tools like Mint from Quickbooks is free to use and can give you a tremendous amount of insight into your personal financial habits. Building wealth often involves breaking bad spending habits, but in order to break them you have to understand what they are.
5. Take a class or attend a seminar
Not only will taking a class or attending a seminar help to build financial literacy, but it will also put you in contact with other like-minded individuals. You aren’t going to be able to learn all by yourself or even build wealth by yourself. It will take a network of people to help you. Some people in your support group will be experienced, some will not, but they will all possess knowledge and information you do not. They can help talk you down from the ledge when things get turbulent and can also be a good sounding board for any crazy ideas you may have.
6. Find a mentor
Chances are you know someone either in the financial world or who is a successful investor. They don’t necessarily have to be a millionaire to be successful, just financially stable. If you know anyone who is not constantly worried about money, then chances are good they are a financially literate.
7. Dive in
One of the best ways to learn about investing is to invest. You will always be more interested in something you have a stake in than something you don’t. You can retain the services of a professional firm to help you get started, or you can do it alone using a self-service apps but the best way to learn is to just do it. You don’t have to invest your life’s savings or bet the farm just yet (in fact, you shouldn’t) but you should at least dip your toe in the water to get started.
Brittany Waddell is a contributing writer and media specialist for NexGen Wealth. She often produces content for a variety of finance blogs.
Bob Paponetti and Laureen Atkins are members of The Open Door Collective’s (ODC) Labor & Workforce Development Issues Group. The group has issued a series of “Can-Do” Guides for various stakeholders (e.g., employers, labor unions, prisoner re-entry agencies, universities, and others).
Each guide explains why adult basic skills are important for the individuals with whom that stakeholder works (e.g., employees, union members, former inmates) and how that stakeholder can work with adult basic education providers to strengthen and expand basic skills development services in their community and state. Please read and share the guides.
ODC is dedicated to reshaping U.S. society to have dramatically less poverty and economic inequality and more civic engagement and participation in all our society has to offer. ODC members believe that adult basic skills education and lifelong learning programs can help open the doors of opportunity for everyone to healthier, more prosperous and satisfying lives. Visit http://www.opendoorcollective.org/ to learn more.
Can-Do Guides to Literacy
As this year ends, it is always good to look back, make goals for the coming year, and feel energized for the work before us. Progress has been made and we appreciate all the efforts you have given to make Northeast Ohio a more literate community.
We are especially pleased for the support and encouragement we’ve received to advance a two generational (2Gen) service delivery strategy that considers the needs of the entire family. We convened a 2Gen Summit this past year that strategically gathered early childhood providers, adult literacy programs, and workforce agencies. This event featured two national speakers, panels of local experts, and a feedback session that discussed how we can align services, so the entire family’s needs can be addressed in an integrated manner. A 2Gen working group resulted from this summit. Look for a call to action that will be released soon.
The expansion of Imagination Library and Reach Out & Read this year has been exciting. Both are proven, universal interventions that connect to parents of babies and toddlers to support them in their role as their child’s first teacher. The first three years of a child’s life present a unique window of opportunity to positively impact brain development. The influence of Reach Out & Read physicians along with the monthly mailing of brand new books through Imagination Library will result in a child better prepared for school success.
The CLE-BEE, our annual corporate spelling bee fundraiser, was very fun night of competition for a good cause. We enjoyed bringing together professionals from different sectors to showcase their spelling skills while raising funds to continue our work in the community. This year’s winner, Cleveland Public Library, was crowned the champion with the word “gallimaufry.” Try using it in a sentence!
Best wishes to you and your families during this holiday season. We look forward to the opportunities 2019 will bring for us to connect and collaborate.
Low literacy continues to be a challenge in our community. Far too many children begin kindergarten behind their peers and struggle to catch-up. Low literate adults are prevented from participating in Cleveland’s Renaissance. The Literacy Cooperative is tasked with identifying and securing the necessary resources to bring organizations together in order to find and implement solutions to advance literacy in Northeast Ohio. To further these efforts, the Literacy Cooperative has instituted a new position within the organization, the Director of Resource Development, which was created to increase visibility and funding for The Literacy Cooperative.
We are very excited to introduce Elizabeth Horrigan, who has joined us in this newly appointed role as the Director of Resource Development. Liz brings more than thirty years of experience in non-profit management and fundraising to this new position, and has the relevant background, established relationships and knowledge of the philanthropic community to successfully assist The Literacy Cooperative in its resource development efforts. She has consistently applied an entrepreneurial and creative approach to establishing and achieving fundraising goals throughout her career, and we are excited to have her share her energy and passion with our affiliates.
For over twenty years, Elizabeth has worked in Cleveland’s non-profit sector in increasingly engaging positions at complex, multi-divisional institutions, as well as small to mid-sized organizations. The majority of her professional career has been in the development arena and has focused on increasing earned and contributed revenue by generating new donors. Liz has served in leadership positions at several well-known institutions around Greater Cleveland such as the Cleveland Play House, Cleveland State University, City Club of Cleveland, Beck Center for the Arts, Western Reserve Historical Society and Cleveland Music Settlement. She holds a BS in Applied Behavioral Science from George Williams College and a certificate in non-profit management from Case Western Reserve University. In the role of Director of Resource Development, which is a new position for the organization, Liz will be working on diversifying the sources of contributed revenue and increasing the number of supporters of to the Literacy Cooperative.
Liz lives in Westlake with her husband and has two daughters and two granddaughters who she enjoys spending time with. If you would like to contact Liz, please send an email to email@example.com.