Personal Finances: It Pays to Know

Financial education can save money and stress

Personal FinancesWhen it comes to your personal finances, surprises are not generally a good thing (save for that ‘bonus’ moment when you find a $20 stashed in your spring coat pocket, which has been in the closet all winter). This momentary windfall aside, usually when your financial matters take you by surprise, the ending is not so profitable.

Don’t let your finances take you by surprise!

You’ve surely heard of the saying, “knowledge is power”? This holds particularly true when it comes to understanding and managing your finances successfully.  Getting a hold of your finances will help you maximize your financial fitness and will also help reduce the very real effects of financial stress.

The real game of life

Remember the board game Life? You journeyed along and had to make several life-impacting decisions about family and employment, which either delivered you toward success (the winner) or left you in the dust while your opponents crossed the finish line?

The real game of life (as in yours) is similar. You are constantly faced with decisions when it comes to your money. Do I save? Do I buy now and pay later? Do I invest in my education? Can I afford a vacation? What about my retirement?

Good (fruitful) financial decisions are made when you have gathered all the facts and you have an understanding of the implications-both now and in the future. This is why financial literacy is so important.

Financial Information + Financial Plan = Goal

This is the kind of math you can really get your head around, because all of these elements combine to contribute towards your success. There are always variables, but the premise is key.

A big part of sound money management comes with understanding your options,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.  “Whether you are talking about debt management, saving for a bigger purchase or balancing your chequebook, knowledge and understanding are critical to creating a plan and achieving your financial goals earlier in life.”

Take control

What do you know about budgeting? Are you familiar with RRSPs?  What the heck is a TFSA? What is the difference between savings and chequing?

Finding out these things won’t just expand your vocabulary. Financial terms are more than fancy buzzwords. Many of them are tools that can help you get where you’d like to be.

 Commit to learn

There is a wealth of information available on personal finance. Some of it is a little daunting (and some of it is a little dry) but all of it is important. Commit to tackling one new topic at a time. Start with what is most important to you in the moment. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or for clarification from a professional either.

If your finances have caught you by surprise or you would to brush up on your financial literacy in order to get the most out of your budget, contact one of our trained credit counsellors by dialing 1-888-294-3130 or try a free debt analysis online by clicking here.

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