Avoid common money management problems

I Smith photo newNovember is financial literacy month in Canada. Several organizations across the country are holding various events to promote the importance of financial literacy skills. From contests to workshops, learning the basic money management skills and being aware of threats to one’s wallet in terms of fraud schemes and scams are essential.
Becoming a better money manager is an investment with benefits that can be reaped in the short- and long-term if one is willing to acquire the necessary skills and remain informed.
Below are 8 results that can be seen when one elects to become financially literate.

1.    Know where your money is coming and going
By creating a monthly budget, you can track your cash flow.  From your pay cheque or pension benefits to grocery expenses, your budget will tell you the level of surplus or debt that you must manage.  This financial literacy skill will assist you in making decisions, such as how much you should put aside in a savings’ account or reducing expenses to avoid going into further debt.

2.    Control your spending
Using a credit card to shop can be dangerous. Credit cards can prompt you to spend money that you may not have in the bank. By being aware of your access to credit and interest [rates], you can control your spending, knowing the short- and long-term consequences of going into debt. Instead of using a credit card, you may choose to use your debit card or cash to shop.

3.    Prepare for your financial future
Do you plan to buy a house? Would you like to retire comfortably?   The financial literacy skill of long-term saving is essential. Knowing how much to save per month and the types of investment tools that are available to you is a responsibility that must be taken seriously and requires discipline. For young individuals, financial literacy will instruct you to start saving and investing early to benefit from compound interest over a long period of time.  Middle-age individuals will have the ability to shelter their money from taxes and retired individuals should be able to reduce debt levels and better manage funds given increasing household expenses.

4.    Manage your debt
One of the major needs for financial literacy is dealing with debt.  From avoiding the use of debt (i.e., credit cards, personal loans, etc.) to understanding interest payments, being able to deal with debt can make life easier from a personal finance point of view.

5.    Increase your awareness of potential fraud
Fraud prevention is an aspect of financial literacy.  In order to protect yourself from financial fraud, it is wise to be aware of the common and prevailing approaches that fraudsters use to gain access to your personal and banking information. March is fraud prevention month, when the Competition Bureau of Canada executes its campaign to share tips to avoid fraud of all kinds.

6.    Have your money work for you
Want to have your money work for you?  If so, then it is time to become more informed on the different investment avenues for your needs. By understanding the different options and respective benefits and pitfalls, you can decide where to put your money to watch it grow over time.

7.    How to best use credit
We all have access to credit in different forms such as credit cards, personal loans and mortgages, which entails incurring debt. To avoid the difficulties that are linked to going into debt via using credit, it is best to have the skills to know the best situations to use credit and sound strategies to repay money with the least amount of interest.

8.    Understand banks work
The majority of your money is probably is in a bank; however, do you know how your bank manages your deposits? What type of products and services you can benefit from to help to your money to grow? By becoming more financial literate, you will be able to compare different banks in terms of what they offer and decide to move your money to another financial institution to meet your financial goals.
Acquiring the basic financial literacy skills to avoid common money management problems is an ongoing process. Although you can gather as much information as you can from different sources and organizations, it is your responsibility to apply the practical tips to improve your financial situation for the future.