Knowledge is power, but it’s also health. With the right information and understanding of certain subjects, the way you treat money can entirely change—hopefully for the better. It’s Landmark National Bank’s goal to make sure as many people are financially literate as possible, so we as a society can make well-informed decisions beneficial to ourselves and others.
To meet that end, in the spirit of financial wellness month, we’ve compiled a brief primer of five of the most important financial literacy topics that we think everyone should know. Hopefully, we’re able to provide you with an intuitive explanation of these subjects so that if you haven’t started to think about them yet, you can begin now.
Why is Financial Literacy Important?
Financial literacy is important because it helps you understand the best ways to use your money in both the short and long term. When you’re skilled and smart about your money, you’ll find yourself less financially stressed, less wasteful, and better able to pursue your goals as it relates to your monetary status.
#1 – Personal Financial Management and Earning Money
Also known as PFM, personal financial management is the simple practice of organizing and tracking your spending, accomplished through the use of a budget. A budget is a plan that helps an individual or family understand what they can and cannot afford, what their anticipated expenses are, and how to measure their different income streams, among other goals orbiting finances. Mastery over a budget and PFM can empower people to feel more in control of their money.
#2 – Protection and Insurance
Insurance exists as a countermeasure against potential loss. In exchange for a premium—a certain agreed-upon sum of upfront payment—as well as consistent, ongoing payments, an insurance company will agree to financially support an individual or company should misfortune befall them in the future. The exact policies and conditions are subject to change based on the insurance company, as well as the type of insurance you’re securing, so it’s important to carefully consider your needs and what insurance might benefit you the most.
Some common types of insurance include: health insurance, life insurance, travel insurance, car insurance, property insurance, liability insurance, and disability insurance, among others.
#3 – Spending
We spend money for a nearly endless variety of reasons. We need to spend money on monthly and annual bills, subscription fees, mortgage/rent, groceries, recreation, property upgrades, medical premiums, and so on. By spending money, we’re stimulating the economy, upholding our responsibility as citizens, and enriching our lives through the things we love.
In the discussion about why financial literacy is important: this is why it’s important to spend money effectively, taking us back to PFM and the power of a good budget. When we know our money coming in versus money going out, we can take the steps to spend money in intelligent, well-considered ways.
#4 – Borrowing
Among the financial literacy topics, understanding the importance of borrowing money is critical. Poor borrowing decisions can deal tremendous damage to the long-term health of your budget and lifestyle, chaining you to frustrating, nonoptimal repayment plans. But loans themselves are not the enemy, and can serve as a boon in some circumstances.
A well-chosen loan can help you out of an unexpected emergency scenario, get your promising new business on its feet, or allow you to make an important life transition. Before committing to any new loan, ensure you understand the institution behind it, the terms and conditions, interest rates, additional costs, and any involved collateral. All of these details should be outlined in the contract you’ll be asked to sign.
#5 – Saving and Investing
Essential to the financial literacy training experience is the understanding of how saving and investing can elevate your financial portfolio. You’ll find many practices surrounding exactly how much you should save and when; but virtually every source of wisdom agrees you should be saving something.
A good savings account can provide lucrative benefits, such as making you more money the longer you have cash sitting in it. Other healthy practices include:
- Not spending all of your money as soon as it comes in
- Stowing part of it away in case of emergency
- Saving money in anticipation of a large purchase, like the down payment on a car
Investing is an extension of saving. It’s wielding your money in a way that the money is allowed to grow on its own. Like everything else on this list, investing is an entire skill unto itself, and can take years to cultivate. However, a strong investment profile can create unrivaled financial security and generate you wealth in addition to your income.
Learn More and Live More with Landmark
The learning never stops. Though we’ve covered some of the basics, remember each of these financial literacy topics can go far deeper. The benefits you can reap from high-level literacy are worth the effort necessary to master each of them.
To continue in the spirit of financial wellness month, Landmark National Bank would like to encourage you to explore the benefits of our personal savings account, designed to help you earn interest and invest in your future. This is a great next step toward learning how financial literacy is important, and how it can directly improve your life.
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