Whether we want to think about money or not…
A regular subject of joking for my generation is the fact that nobody taught us about things like taxes or balancing a checkbook in school growing up. Granted, the same can be said for pretty much every generation of the last hundred years or so, but the point is that unless you’re a business major, you’re probably not going to learn important personal finance info until its absolutely necessary, which isn’t really the best time. April is Financial Literacy Month, which means its a great time to educate yourself (and perhaps your kids) about anything you don’t already know by heart.
First, learn about budgeting and saving. Sadly, in current circumstances, it may be difficult to actually get a budget going for some folks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t teach yourself for future reference. You never know when a financial emergency will be unceremoniously dumped in your lap, demanding an immediate solution. Just recently, I was sitting at home, minding my own business, when a chunk of my tooth popped off. I had no choice but to go to the dentist for an emergency filling, and due to insurance complications, I had to pay out of pocket. But that’s okay, because I have a budget for emergency health expenditures. It still stinks to eat the cost, of course, but at least it doesn’t hurt your livelihood.
Something that every family should keep is a personal ledger of financial information. It doesn’t have to be an actual ledger; you can store it on your computer, or assemble something with online programs. The point is that you want to have easy access to accurate, up-to-date information, and you also need to know what it all means. What should go in this ledger? Things like major expenditures, tax returns, savings, and credit scores. Information is the best weapon in any adverse situation; arm yourself with financial knowledge, and nothing can take you by surprise.