Understanding the basics of money management skills such as living within a budget, handling credit and debt, and planning for retirement will provide a solid financial foundation that can lead to a lifetime of financial success.
Be accountable and responsible The first step on the path to financial success is accepting accountability
and responsibility. Understand that you are the one in control of your
financial future, and every decision or choice you make can have a significant
Plot your course Step two on the path to financial success involves planning. It is
impossible to effectively manage your finances if you don't know how much
money you have available to spend or how you want to budget the money you
have. You need to create a road map by defining your financial goals.
Establishing a budget and sticking to it is not easy, but it is the best way
to ensure that you are in control of your financial future. Think of your
budget as a "spending plan." It is a way to be aware of how much money you
have, where it needs to go, and how much, if any, is left over.
Video: Don't Buy
It If You Can't Afford It
Borrow smart At some point you may need to borrow money (take out a loan). It is
imperative that you borrow smart if you want to maintain your financial
Manage your credit cards wisely Credit cards are designed for people with income. They are a convenience, but can test your self-control and you must strive to only use them if you plan on paying the balance in full at the end of each month. When selecting a credit card, make certain you have selected one with the most affordable options and no hidden costs.
Review and understand your credit report A credit report is a collection of information about you and your credit history and will have a significant impact on your financial future.
Know when to ask for help The final step on the path to financial success is knowing when to request
assistance. These warning signs will indicate financial problems:
Are you living paycheck to paycheck with no money going into savings?
Are you alternating which bills to pay each month, leaving some unpaid?
Are your payments often late?
Are you using one credit card to make the payments on another?
Young Adults and Financial Literacy This NPR series pulls together expert opinions and interviews with college students to look at how college students are -- or could be -- making decisions around financing their college education.
College is a different world and you must learn the rules in order to be
successful. It is an investment you make in your future so make wise choices.
Here are several tips to make your time in school more beneficial and less
GO TO CLASS! – Class attendance is key to becoming a successful student.
Develop a plan to finish school on time – Set realistic goals for completing your program of study.
Consult an adviser – An adviser can help with course selection and provide information requirements for specific majors.
Select a major early – Changes in major will cost you time and money.
Keep life simple – Over-committing yourself socially and financially takes its toll mentally and physically.
Stay focused on your educational goals. Avoid distractions.
Make satisfactory academic progress.
Master essential study skills.
Seek help from your instructors.
Recognize your learning style.
Develop coping strategies for the demands of student life.
Identity theft is the acquisition of key personal information used to
impersonate someone else -- alive or dead. It is one of the fastest growing
crimes in the United States which can destroy your credit and ruin your good
name. When your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge,
it can cost you time and money to correct. As a victim of identity theft, you
may lose job opportunities, be refused loans for education, housing, or cars,
and even get arrested for crimes you did not commit. Identity theft is a serious
crime; take it seriously!
Career planning is the combination of structured planning and the active management of one's own professional career. The outcome of successful career management should include personal fulfillment, work/life balance, goal achievement and financial security. The following questions will assist you in planning your future career:
Career goal: What area do you want to work in?
Explore occupations: Do you need to research and explore a variety of
different fields including your career choice?
Make a plan: What do you need to do to accomplish your plan?
Get the skills you need: Do you need to take some classes or get a degree?