Americans, as a group, are good at some things and not so good at others. One thing that Americans tend to be bad at is managing their money. A study in Investment Times shows that 78 percent of financial advisers believe that financial literacy is a problem in America. Take a step back and think about your financial situation. Do you wish you were better off? Or do you just want a greater sense of security in case of an emergency? Taking a class might boost your financial literacy. Sure, you may hire experts to advise you on investments or to file your taxes, but the more you know, the more you can participate fully in the conversation and protect your own best interests.
Financial Problems Plague You
Financial problems come in many forms. Whether you accidentally signed up for a credit card with a high interest rate or didn’t have the savings to cover an emergency, stuff happens. If you find you keep making the same financial decisions that aren’t improving your situation, you may want to take a finance class.
If you find you’re turning to payday lenders to help make ends meet, it’s time to consider a finance class. According to CNBC, there are more payday lender shops in America than McDonald’s or Starbucks. They also report that high school students who took a finance class were less likely to turn to payday lenders when times get tough.
You Want a General Knowledge of Finance
Maybe your personal finances are great shape, and you want additional financial knowledge. If that’s the case, go for it! We think learning about finance is pretty cool, too. Taking finance classes doesn’t have to be for people who are struggling. Financially literate consumers tend to make better financial decisions overall. The more knowledge you have on financial matters means you can spread around what you know, hopefully making those around you financially literate.
Some topics in finance are hard, but some of the basics are easy. If you’re unsure of how to create a budget or understand interest rates, a finance class could be beneficial to you. That way you can make more informed choices about, say, when to apply for a credit card. Your knowledge can prepare your children for future success, too. According to Consumerism Commentary, 81 percent of parents believe that financial literacy is important to teach children. But two out of five parents don’t think they have the necessary skills to teach them.
Where to Find Finance Classes
So, you want to take a class, but now you have to find one. First look for online classes. Check established teaching sites like Coursera or EdX, or go directly to university websites to see what they offer. If you prefer an in-person class, check with nearby community colleges and public libraries. Also consider nonprofits like the United Way. In addition, as your accountant or financial adviser to make recommendations.
A word of caution: Do a little research to make sure you know who is teaching the class and that they’re qualified. A financial literacy class is not the same as a $1,000 seminar being offered by a so-called wealth guru promoting their book! Be sure to search for a class taught by something taught by a qualified instructor. You should be able to find something low-cost or even free. Anyone can give out financial advice. But when it comes to your financial future, wouldn’t you rather be instructed by someone with the right background?
The bottom line is, a finance class is good for just about anyone. If you’ve never taken one, consider it. Who know, you may even get hooked and decide to pursue a whole new career path!
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