Modern times constantly remind us of the relevance of personal finance, but did you know that only 17 states in the U.S. even require students to take courses in finance? Today, with so many technological tools at our fingertips, it’s easier than ever to access free financial information and education.
Here are 5 of the most popular online classes to supercharge your financial knowledge:
- Skillshare, for accounting skills, attained in as little as one hour.
- Alison, for an in-depth introduction to life insurance and retirement savings.
- Udemy, perfect for beginners, this class teaches the core four tenants of personal finance.
- Coursera, excellent for expertise in personal and family financial planning.
- Macquarie University, for financial literacy and goal setting.
With the start of the new school year and the quarterly tax time, now is a great time to take action and gear up for financial awareness. These classes provide great tools for a new way of imagining and managing our finances.
While no “one size fits all” business module exists for those embarking on their personal finance path, there is one thing for certain – these “rules” will serve as excellent guidelines in gearing up or getting started. Make sure to:
- Set out to save at least 10-20% of your income.
- Pay credit card balances in full every month.
- Max out 401(k) and other tax-advantaged savings accounts.
- Never buy or sell individual stocks.
- Buy inexpensive mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETF’s.)
- Make sure your financial advisor commits to the fiduciary standard.
- Only buy a home when you are financially ready!
- Stay protected with insurance.
- Support the social safety net.
While we cannot guard against everything in life, staying protected and prepared is a wonderful way to remain calm and proactive in this ever-evolving financial world.
Wela, a personal finance provider, just launched its latest endeavor in the financial advice platform, and this one can be downloaded; meet the Benjamin chatbot. Here are a few of its trademarks to keep in mind next time you have any lingering questions about your finances:
- The Benjamin chatbot tracks the user’s daily, weekly, and monthly spending habits via Artificial Intelligence. Therefore, each question is, in fact, personalized.
- These customized answers are compiled from over 13,000 financial institutions, including user’s information about their budget and personal financial goals.
Why the Benjamin Bot?
This app is on a mission to expand the way financial advice is given. It’s great to have on hand for those continuing on their financial education journey. The advancement of technology offers a wide range of options now for those looking to expand their horizons beyond books, or online classes.
Personal finance is one thing when you’re single, but what do you do when you’re about to merge lives with another? In this fast-paced society, it’s wonderful to have solid financial advice to keep us firmly planted in our assets. Here are 9 items to add to your checklist if you are about to get hitched or know someone who is:
- Check in with your attitudes about money. Do you both see eye to eye with how money should be allocated?
- Talk about your personal and financial goals together.
- Consolidate your individual assets and liabilities.
- Manage your spends together: when to spend and who will spend on what?
- Create a budget and stay on track with it.
- Set aside an emergency fund.
- Manage documentation and update as names change, addresses, etc.
- Review your insurance coverage together.
- Stay aware and trust each other.
Following these safety net steps keeps couples in check as they build a new life together. Staying open and communicating is beneficial for the long term of the relationship and finances, too!
The fast pace of modern society now favors plastic payments as the process of carrying cash saves less time. While the swipe and sign convenience of credit cards is great in many ways, the debt accrued (1.02 trillion in June) has sent warning signals to many Americans. No need panic though. These simple steps will help guide anyone facing a credit card wake up call:
- Go cash only for a month. It’s harder to ignore budgets that way!
- Come up with alternatives. Try opening a high-interest savings account.
- Find extra outlets. Start a side gig to earn money outside of your normal income.
While the current credit card debt situation is alarming, implementing these simple and effective steps will help anyone get back on track financially and in the trajectory of abundance.
Photo by Olu Eletu