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The Important Financial Skills Young Adults Should Learn ASAP

Because most schools don’t teach you how taxes work.

It’s a common joke among my generation that none of us learned how to manage our personal finances until it was already absolutely necessary, but we all know that mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. We learn a lot of things in school growing up, but people have been getting more and more curious these days as to why those things don’t include practical financial skills. Well, I could sit here all day complaining about the public school system, but in lieu of that, here are some skills of the utmost importance everyone needs to know, whether you have teenage kids you need to teach, or are yourself a young adult.

First, learn how to do your own taxes. As nice as it is to have services like TurboTax and H&R Block available, those services aren’t always infallible, plus they can cost money if you need in-depth help. If you live in a complicated financial situation (and I’ve no doubt the last couple of years deposited one on many a doorstep), it’s important to have an understanding of where your money is going and coming from. Once you’ve got your ducks in a row, then you can use a tax service’s free filing to send it all off.

Second, balancing your checking and savings accounts. No one really pays for stuff with checks anymore, so you probably don’t need to know how to balance a checkbook. However, it’s still good fiscal responsibility to go over your expenses once in a while, usually through an online banking account. Monitoring your income and expenses on a regular basis makes your money feel a bit realer, for lack of a better word; when you see that number going down, you come to the realization that money is a finite resource and needs to be monitored.

Finally, understand ongoing life expenses like mortgages and payment plans. I didn’t even know what a mortgage was until I was in my 20s, that’s how uninformed I was. Even if you end up not needing services like a mortgage, it’s valuable to know what they are and how they work if for no other reason besides knowing how to avoid needing them.

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