We all learned some things in high school, huh? Most of us were there for 4 years, and most of us graduated with a nice balance of social lessons, literary metaphors, and science labs. However, real life lessons aren’t always written in the curriculum… especially when it comes to finance. The Penny Hoarder reports that only around ⅓ of high school students study financial literacy in school, and we’d bet it’s pretty likely that those financial literacy lessons barely scratched the surface of true financial health.Plus, young adults need financial literacy. A massive student loan debt crisis, an overwhelming amount of car debt (and other consumer debt), AND a constantly changing economy points to the need for young adults to understand their own financial health. Today, we’re diving into the money lessons we didn’t learn in high school — and how you can learn them now.
Savings accounts probably aren’t your best option.
At a minimum, our high school financial education likely touched on the fact that saving money is a good thing. However, savings accounts probably aren’t your best option… at least not for saving large amounts of money. While having an easy-to-reach emergency fund is important, it’s smart to make your money work for you. Instead of keeping tens of thousands of dollars in low-yield savings accounts, consider using other savings and investment vehicles like 401(k)’s, Roth IRAs, and low-risk investment accounts to house your savings.
You can almost always lower prices and interest rates.
Did you know that you can almost always negotiate things with customer service? Whether it’s credit card interest rates or your monthly phone bill, a lower rate is usually just a phone call away — something that none of us were ever really taught! If you’re looking to get any monthly bills lowered (within reason), consider looking up some numbers and spending an afternoon on the phone!
Student loans are not fun — and neither are car payments.
For a lot of people, some things have always just seemed like they have to be a part of life — and two of those things are student loans and car payments. For most Americans, car payments seem like a must-do, deal-with-it part of adulthood, and for a lot of high school students, student loans seem like the only way to get to school. While car loans and student loans can often be necessary, being well-versed in their implications is just as important (if not more so).
Budgeting doesn’t have to make you miserable.
Budgeting has never been portrayed as a fun thing, and that’s honestly a shame. See, most of the budgeting worksheets that we all played with in high school made budgeting seem like a bare-bones, no-fun-allowed, no-money-to-be-spent kind of act, when really budgeting is so much more than that. If you can create a budget that truly fits your life, you can make room for actual space to do what you want to do and buy what you want to buy… and, honestly, what is more fun than that?!
Understanding taxes is so dang important.
Ah, taxes. The backbone of our society, and also the load a lot of us carry around. Sheesh. If you can have a true and deep understanding of the taxes you need to pay, the tax implications certain things in your life carry (like selling a car or buying a home), and the tax cuts you can take advantage of (like student loan interest), you’re already miles ahead of most of America — and that means you can be dollars ahead, too.—At CIFS, we know that financial literacy is imperative in building a well-rounded society… and so is diversity and inclusion in the entire financial services arena. Find financial tips, educational resources, and so much more here.