Financial Literacy...Financial Freedom!

By The Trust Company on May 13, 2016

Your Path to Financial Literacy Starts with a Plan

Money plays an integral role in our lives, impacting nearly every situation we face. From birth to employment to the legacy we leave, money is a factor; sometimes silent and sometimes stated, but always present. Given that, you’d expect most people to be literate in how to manage money. Unfortunately, statistics show us that’s not the case. 

Financial Literacy
Many people aren’t financially literate because they have never been taught how to manage their money. Most of us didn’t learn to ride a bike on our own, either—we had good teachers!

If we begin to think of financial literacy as a basic life skill—like riding a bike—we have a better chance of developing good, lifelong money habits, and passing them on to our kids.

As adults, many are afraid to learn, think it’s too late, or assume financial literacy is only for those with a certain education or skill level. It’s not. Becoming financially literate begins with knowing where to find resources and how to apply them to your family.

How to Get Started

Financial literacy has one basic premise – making educated decisions to better manage your money. To make those decisions you need to know where you stand financially. Think of this as an inventory of your financial life. You want to list the following:

  • How much you earn each month
  • Your regular, monthly bills
  • Your retirement savings and other investments
  • Any debt

Katie Seay
You may need to list other things depending on your situation, though this will provide a good foundation. Your financial inventory will paint a picture of where you’re at financially and where to begin making beneficial changes. If you don’t know how to act once you write down this inventory, Katie Seay, Director of Financial Planning for The Trust Company names some of the following resources to consider:

  • Mint.com for budgeting help
  • Credit counseling agencies for help with debt
  • Local seminars for financial classes
  • Help for students through local universities, such as K-State, for peer counseling on financial basics

The key is to find the resources you need most and take advantage of them. In many cases they’re free, so it makes sense to use them.

Set a Goal

We all have goals we want to reach. Money helps us reach those goals. Your goals may include traveling upon retirement or paying for your children’s college education. Whatever the goal, it will likely require money and must be personal.

The goal of financial literacy is to take all the moving pieces and make them work together – sooner rather than later.

“As things get more intricate, you bring in advisors but at a basic level, everyone needs to learn how to manage money. Regardless of your status or occupation money management is a skill you need,” says Seay.

That goal requires a plan and the more literate you are financially, the clearer that plan becomes and the more empowered you feel.

How to Establish Your Plan

Developing a plan may sound overwhelming, especially if this is a new concept to you. Thankfully, there are many resources that can help. The Internet is full of free information, templates and tips to help you better manage your money if you prefer to manage things on your own.

In many instances, however, you may feel the need for assistance. Firms like The Trust Company can help in times of need.

“We focus on their goals and then determine what parts of our service model help them achieve those goals. We do everything from helping older clients living in nursing homes with bill management to assisting working professionals manage their money and develop a plan for how much to save for retirement and in what accounts to providing guidance with purchasing insurance and managing investments. All of these services are pieces of the puzzle that when complete, helps clients achieve their goals,” says Seay.

Financial Freedom
The Bottom Line

Financial literacy comes down to making educated decisions, in light of the larger picture. The last thing you want is to do that blindly, which is why a plan is so essential.

Becoming financially literate is empowering. Think of it as removing the training wheels from a bike. It may feel scary at first, but once mastered, the balance is freeing.

That freedom provides peace of mind and confidence that whichever road you’re traveling on will take you to your desired destination.

Contact a a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional at The Trust Company today to start working on your financial goals! (800) 285-7878 | www.TheTrustCo.com