Good financial literacy and management are key to leading a balanced and productive life. It can also help you make better decisions regarding your career and personal and professional priorities.
Yet, there’s no denying that money can be a daunting topic when you don’t understand it. However, with consistent effort, you can learn to utilize it as a tool for improving your life, whether you’re at home or in the office. But when your financial literacy is lacking – or the mere notion sends your blood pressure skyward – improving your understanding can be difficult.
If you’re looking for simple ways to improve your financial literacy, keep reading. Learning how to manage your money and make data-drive financial decisions is much easier if you know where to start.
Follow These Financial Literacy Tips to Successfully Manage Money
1. Listen to Podcasts
Educational podcasts are a great way to learn about a new topic while going about your daily business, such as a morning commute or evening jog. There’s an abundance of quality, informative podcasts focused on empowering audiences to make better financial decisions – and decisions in general. For example, How to Money, the Goal Digger Podcast, and So Money with Farnoosh Torabi.
2. Use Tech Tools
If financial literacy doesn’t come naturally, you’re not alone. Fortunately, technology can help you manage your money and make better financial decisions. You can do everything from drawing up budgets to creating reports using the cutting-edge tech tools available online.
This ensures that you organize and keep track of your financial affairs in a clear, concise way. Using these kinds of tools can also demystify the topic in a way that empowers you to become more responsible about money.
3. Engage in Cognition-Boosting Activities
Fill your spare time with activities that sharpen your mind and cognitive skills. This will not only make you more mathematically (and therefore financially) inclined, but it will also wake up the part of your brain responsible for critical thinking and smart decision-making. AKA, the prefrontal cortex.
There are many ways to stimulate this important part of your brain, including puzzles, making music, observational drawing, Sudoku, mindfulness, and learning a different language.
4. Find a Mentor
If you have access to an older, wiser person whom you respect both personally and professionally, respectfully ask them to advise you on financial and career management. Having someone to ask questions to, hash out details with, and draw support and guidance from can make a world of difference.
5. Get Your Physical and Mental Health In Check
Physical and mental wellness is essential for leading a productive, inspired, and balanced life. Don’t neglect your body or your mind’s wellbeing when it comes to developing better financial habits. The healthier you are, the more energy you will have to attach career goals with aplomb.
Exercise regularly, read interesting books, meditate, journal, and connect with loved ones. The happiest and most successful people are those who take a holistic approach to vitality and personal growth.
6. Brush Up Your Numerical Skills
If it’s been a while since you brushed up on the old arithmetic, now might be a good time. Developing strong numerical skills can help you make better financial decisions that align with personal goals and are most conducive to long-term wealth building and prosperity. The more knowledge you have, the easier it is to manage your salary and any benefits that come with your package.
Don’t let the idea of numbers intimidate you. There are many simple ways to improve your basic math skills, including online tutorials, books, and apps that make numbers easier to learn.
7. Watch Films and Media About Finances
You can improve your financial literacy even in your downtime. The key here is to search for quality films and media that have been critically acclaimed for their performances and commentary on real-life situations. In this case, those pertaining to finance management and taking control of one’s life, such as:
- Wall Street (1987)
- The Big Short (2015)
- Billions (2016)
You might not think that watching movies and TV series could enhance your understanding of financial literacy and decision-making. But the truth is, the stories and content we consume can play a major role in our perception of the world. And they even influence us to make good decisions or avoid bad ones.
8. Study Your Priorities and Goals
Before you can really hone in on your financial and career goals, it’s crucial that you understand what they are and why you want to pursue them.
The more you understand about your priorities, the easier it will be to motivate yourself to become a more financially responsible person, which will help you fast-track progress towards reaching personal goals. Set aside time to consider what you want out of your career and your life in general in the foreseeable future, and use what you learn to shape a financial plan that’s conducive to it.
Furthermore, keep those goals at the forefront of your mind. Use visual tools like vision boards or inspirational posters to remind you what the future could look like if you stay true to smart financial decisions.
9. Save, Save, and Save Some More
Savings are essential for moving forward in life. If you haven’t started yet, it’s never too late. Most people aim to put aside 10% of their monthly income into savings, but any amount you can afford to set aside is a step in the right direction.
Read up on the different ways you can make your savings work for you, too. You may want to put some money into a high-yield savings account or invest in stocks, bonds, or other assets.
10. Be Consistent
Just like any healthy habitat, the key ingredient to sustainable financial literacy and smart decision-making is consistency. Without consistency, improving your financial literacy and decision-making will come to a grinding halt, and you’ll lose any progress you made in the honeymoon phase of self-improvement.
Stay focused, keep going, and don’t give up on your goals.
Set Yourself Up for a Financially Successful Future
As is the case with most healthy practices, enhancing your financial literacy is only hard in the beginning. Once you’ve adopted it as a way of life, it can become second nature.
In order to reach your career goals and manage your personal and professional affairs with ease, financial literacy is essential. And with these tips, you can achieve it.
If you’re already familiar with these tips, or if you want to keep moving forward with your finance knowledge, be sure to check out our courses on finance.
Article written by Lauren Prentiss.
Last updated September 20, 2023.