Do you think you have a solid understanding of everyday financial concepts like budgeting, managing debt and planning for retirement?
If the answer is no, you’re not alone.
A Fortune magazine study found that nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t pass a basic financial literacy test.1 And according to Forbes magazine, 44 percent of Americans don’t have enough cash to cover a $400 emergency, 38 percent of U.S. households have credit card debt and 33 percent of adults do not save toward retirement.2
We're making it easy — and free — to sharpen your financial skills with the following resources.
Why is financial literacy important?
Being financially literate leads to smarter financial decisions, which lead to a more secure future. According to a 2019 study by George Washington University, 88 percent of Americans who save for retirement on a regular basis are considered financially literate.3
Start with the basics
Maintaining healthy financial habits is the key to a brighter long-term financial outlook. That means being proactive (not reactive) about managing your finances and taking an ongoing approach to your financial education.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Literacy and Education Commission has established five principles for managing and growing your money:4
Earn – Make the most of what you earn by understanding the details about your paycheck, including deductions and withholdings.
Save & Invest – It’s never too early or too late to start saving toward your short-term and long-term goals.
Protect – Make sure you’re financially prepared for emergencies. Maintain proper insurance coverage. Stay on alert for fraud and scams that can impact your finances.
Spend – Live within your means, spend wisely and develop a budget or spending plan.
Borrow – Practice responsible borrowing habits such as paying your bills on time, finding the best rates and paying more than the minimum amount due each month.
It’s never too late to improve your financial education
As long as you’re willing to learn and are committed to practicing good financial habits, it’s never too late to start. Whether you need to get out of debt, save more money, plan better for the future or all of the above, it’s important to identify your goals first. Then, start educating yourself on ways to reach them.
You’ve got resources
Becoming savvy about personal finance won’t happen overnight. Take an ongoing approach to your financial education, and make good use of the many resources and tools available to help you along the way.
Here are three ways to keep yourself financially literate:
1. Read articles at the library, search for online financial management blogs or pick up a book by a trusted finance expert. Stay up-to-date with what’s happening in the world, and pay attention to any news that could have an impact on your finances.
2. Take a course, seminar or workshop on financial literacy. You’ll be surprised at how many free courses are available at local colleges, libraries, community centers and nonprofit organizations.
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3. Get advice from an experienced financial professional.
OneMain offers many helpful resources, including our online financial calculators and articles covering all areas of personal finance. You may find these articles helpful in your quest for financial literacy:
- 9 Good Money Habits to Boost Your Financial Luck
- How to Achieve Financial Independence
- Smart Financial Moves at Different Stages of Life
Consider today the perfect opportunity to jumpstart your financial education. Start by gaining a firm understanding of the ins and outs of basic finance — and continue to educate yourself so you can make the decisions that lead to a healthier, more confident financial future.
1 Source: Fortune Magazine, Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Can’t Pass a Basic Test of Financial Literacy, https://fortune.com/2016/07/12/financial-literacy/
2 Source: Forbes Magazine, 4 Stats that Reveal How Badly America is Failing at Financial Literacy, https://www.forbes.com/sites/danipascarella/2018/04/03/4-stats-that-reveal-how-badly-america-is-failing-at-financial-literacy/#797c7fe72bb7
3 Source: TIAA Institute–GFLEC Personal Finance Index 2019, https://gflec.org/initiatives/personal-finance-index/
4 Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury Financial Literacy and Education Commission, https://www.mymoney.gov/mymoneyfive/Pages/mymoneyfive.aspx