Financial education is one of those infuriating things that would make the world a hugely simpler place if we were all born with a decent amount of the stuff.
Sadly, however, this isn’t the case and it’s only as we go through the course of everyday life that we really realise how little we know and how much we could benefit by knowing more.
So, if looking to make 2015 the year you start taking control of your finances, here are ten of the best ways to increase your financial education:
1 – Ask Questions.
First and foremost, all the information and education in the world is out there somewhere – the key to finding it lies in asking questions. These could be directed at anyone and everyone with any relevance to personal finance, like a High Street lender, a bank or any given authority.
2 – Take a Course.
If time permits, there are dozens of courses offered by colleges and schools up and down the country specifically geared toward the understanding of modern financial matters. From simple evening seminars onoptions right through to courses in large-scale investments and stock trading, there’s pretty much no limit to what can be studied by anyone with the time and dedication required.
3 – Join Forums.
The internet is pretty much bursting at the seams with a million and one forums and newsgroups dedicated to real-world financial matters with the so-called average Joe in mind. More often than not, if there is a question to be answered or a tip to be offered, it will be covered in spades by any number of forums.
4 – Read Publications.
Sure you might find it more entertaining to read the cartoon strips, but if financial education really is of importance to you than never overlook the value of daily, weekly and monthly financial publications. From daily newspapers to occasional journals and right through to full-scale literary publications, there are literally millions of documents and written works out there with all the knowledge in the galaxy to share.
5 – Speak to Friends / Family.
It’s amazing how often people completely overlook the enormous wealth of advice and knowledge they have freely at their disposal in the form of their family and friends. Given the fact that everyone knows at least a few things that their closest companions might not, it’s always worth chewing over important matters with those around to take a few new fresh perspectives on the subject.
6 – Learn from Mistakes.
Next, trial and error isn’t the best approach to life in any way shape or form, but it works and is to some extent inevitable. As such, it’s always a good idea to from time to time look at personal shortcomings, accept where things have gone wrong and summarily learn lessons on how to never make the same mistakes again.
7 – Check your Ratings.
Industry experts state that if you haven’t already looked into your credit rating, it’s high time you did exactly that. A credit score can have the most enormous impact on a person’s financial life not just for the immediate future, but pretty much forever. As such, it is vital to get to grips with the way the credit rating system works and the reasons behind any negative marks already inflicted.
8 – Compare the Market.
Take the time to compare the market and find out just what the national averages really are in terms of what you should be paying for essential financial services. It only takes a few minutes to use an independent comparison site to compare thousands of loans, credit cards, bank accounts,and so on, in order to find out what kind of interest rates and fees people are paying these days.
9 – Study Outgoings.
Next up, put aside a day or two to go through yours and the family’s outgoings as a whole to get a genuine insight into what is going where, how frequently and why. This is the only real means by which you can start to fully understand the various savings that could be made by making a few shrewd financial moves – moves that nobody is going to make on your behalf.
10 – Look Ahead.
Last but not least, stop putting off looking into future considerations likeand plans as for every day you avoid educating yourself on the options, you’re throwing away what could be valuable savings and interest. Again, it’s not the kind of thing that folk will be breaking down your doors to teach you so in the interest of your own long-term benefit, look ahead from as early a stage as possible.