How confident are you on a scale of 1 to 10 when it comes to financial planning?
Tough question, right?
Well, you are not alone! Financial literacy has always been a big problem, probably because it is never taught in schools. According to a study, Singapore is lagging behind financial literacy and slipped to sixth place. But you can still bridge the gap by learning the concepts better.
Nevertheless, let’s have a closer look at some aspects of personal finance which we wish they should have taught in school!
1. How credit cards and interest rates work
Do the interest rates charged on credit cards often perplex you? This is the case with most of us.
Factually, one can get their credit card at around 18 years of age, and thus, it makes sense to teach all the related concepts in the school. But they didn’t. This is the reason perhaps why a large number of students end up accumulating $10,000 in credit card debt without knowing.
If the basics of credit cards and interest rates were covered in the school, we could have saved a large number of people from financial stress.
2. Budgeting 101
Were you taught how to manage your budget in the school? Probably not!
Not having a basic know-how of concepts related to the budgeting can land you on big financial troubles. If not the deeper insights, we think that students should at least be taught how to manage their lifestyle and how to handle the income they earn.
They should also learn how to pay the essential utility bills, and how to avoid having debt.
3. Keep a tab on your credit reports
When was the last time you checked your credit report? As expected, not many of us ever had a look on it while in school.
It is not just about university students, but a lot of adults avoid checking their credit reports before making a financial decision and this is where they go wrong.
Keeping an eye over your credit reports help you save your credit scores while also avoiding fee and penalties. It is worth mentioning here that most banks would refuse to extend loans to people with poor credit history.
Thus, to save yourself from troubles afterward, it is highly recommended to check your credit reports now and then. However, if you are still not affluent with the technical jargons, it is highly recommended to hire a university tutor who would explain the basics to you.
4. Paying off student loans is essential
This should be your priority, but you will never find your school discussing it.
It is essential that you pay off your student loan as much as you can every month. Not just the minimum payment, but also put an extra figure to be able to get rid of it as soon as possible.
What’s more? If you showcase good paying off habits and meet specific requirements, you can also apply for loan forgiveness.
5. Investments are not only for the rich
If you have always thought that only riches can afford to invest, you might be wrong.
Anyone can start investing, regardless of the financial status. You can invest in a range of options like mutual funds, the stock market, and even make use of various automated micro-investing apps like Acorns.
The basic rule of thumb here is to invest with minimal risks, especially if you are a first-time investor, and have proper knowledge of the niche you are investing into.
6. SAVE, SAVE and SAVE
This is another essential quality our schools forgot to inculcate within us.
Regardless of the circumstances, you must save for your future. Ideally, saving should start right from the young age. This way, when you graduate and do not have any job at hand, you would be able to survive without any worries!
7. Track your spending
Do you often end up spending more than your initial plan? Well, you should make it a point to track your spending. This should be ideally done every day. But if you keep busy, doing it every week is fine too.
Simply create a journal and note down all the expenses that you made. This way you will be able to track all the unnecessary expenditures, and would also be able to keep your finances in check.
8. Accept low-paying job offers if they help you build your career
Undoubtedly, job offers paying minimum wages could be disappointing. But do not let that bother you, especially when you get a chance to work in the desired industry.
A job that pays $8/hour as of now, can lead to a $100, 000 salary in the long run. You need to keep your priorities right and focus on other perks of the job. How is the work culture? Is the job profile relevant to your skills? How is the future growth?
If all these factors turn out to be favorable, accepting a low-paying job offer should not be a big deal.
9. Not all credit cards are bad
This is a common conception that credit cards tend to accumulate debts, and degrade the credit score.
Truth be told, not all credit cards are bad, and some of them can even help you in building your credit score if you pay off your debts on time, and make regular payments.
10. Basics of tax
Let’s admit: we all have to deal with tax one day or the other, but this is one subject which was not taught in detail in schools. Contrary to what most university students might think, income tax is applicable not only to your annual salary but you are also required to pay tax on other direct and indirect sources of income like real estate property sales, banks accounts and so on.
Over to You
Do not let the basics of finance cripple you at any point in time. Instead, focus on the right education and have clear concepts right from the beginning.
What are your views on this? Do let us know in the comments below.