Increasing your knowledge is the key to unlocking financial success. Recent studies show there’s room for improvement when it comes to our understanding and application of financial fundamentals. Consider these eye-opening statistics:
- Just over one-third of Americans — 34 percent — have no retirement savings, and 27 percent have no personal savings, according to The Harris Poll (November 2010).
- Among Baby Boomers ages 46 to 64, 25 percent have no retirement savings; among seniors age 65 and older, 22 percent have no retirement savings. (Source: The Harris Poll, November 2010).
- About two-thirds of adults (65 percent) have not ordered a copy of their credit report within the past year and nearly one in three (31 percent) do not know their credit score. (Source: National Foundation for Credit Counseling Financial Literacy Survey, 2010)
- More than two in five adults (43 percent) now keep a close track on their spending, but more than half (65 percent) still do not have a budget. (Source: National Foundation for Credit Counseling Financial Literacy Survey, 2010)
So whether you’re looking for information about credit, saving, investing, or household budgeting, April is a great time to increase your financial savvy because it’s Financial Literacy Month. Government agencies, consumer advocacy organizations and businesses will hold events and programs across the country to raise awareness of the importance of increasing consumer financial knowledge.
You can get free information online and through community resources. Here are some ideas on where you can get started to improve your financial knowledge:
- Visit Experian’s Website for credit education information, where you’ll find the “Ask Experian” credit advice column, answers to common credit report and credit scoring questions and numerous articles about a wide range of credit subjects. At http://www.livecreditsmart.com/, you can read more about credit reporting and credit scoring, review tips for improving your credit situation and view an online Town Hall during which Experian’s public education team answered consumer questions.
- Get your credit report. Everyone should get their credit report at least once a year if only to know exactly what is being reported. You can get a free one every 12 months at http://www.annualcreditreport.com/, or consider subscribing to a credit monitoring service at http://www.freecreditscore.com/ or http://www.experian.com/. Then you can watch your progress as you apply what you’ve learned.
- Seek budgeting assistance. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) Member Agency Network is the nation’s largest financial counseling organization with more than 800 community-based offices located in all 50 states in Puerto Rico. These non-profit consumer credit counseling agencies offer free classes on how to budget and manage spending. To locate an NFCC Member Agency in your area, call 1 800 388 2227 or visit the NFCC Website.
- Start planning for retirement. If you haven’t already, begin saving for retirement. Your company’s Human Resources department can direct you to information about 401K, stock purchase and other retirement savings plans. Your bank or credit union may also offer low-cost financial planning services.
Thanks for reading.
- The “Ask Experian” team