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Six Ways To Help Improve Your Financial Literacy

Learn proactive ways to help improve your financial awareness.

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Money is part of your everyday life, regardless of what you do or how much you earn. The more you understand about finances, the more effectively you may be able to manage yours.

Yet, many people lack financial literacy skills. One study of 15-year-olds found that 18% had not learned fundamental financial skills to use in everyday life, like comparison shopping and creating a budget.1 This lack of knowledge may carry over into adulthood. These six proactive strategies may offer you financial guidance and help you improve your financial awareness.

#1: Tune in to a Podcast on Financial Topics

Podcasts can help you improve your financial awareness while you're driving to work, jogging, or cleaning the house. For example, Millennial Money, a podcast designed for young adults and the age 40ish crowd, interviews financial experts on topics ranging from getting out of debt to negotiating a higher salary.

Originally an NPR radio show, Planet Money takes a broader focus and discusses the global context of finances. Sample a few financial podcasts, and your streaming service will give you recommendations for more.

LPL Market Signals, a podcast from LPL Financial, is designed to help listeners understand current and future market trends and future projections on a weekly basis.

Find these and more on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube.

#2: Participate in Financial Webinars and Workshops

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers a range of tools and resources to help individuals gain more insight into financial decision-making, including audio recordings, handouts and worksheets. It also holds financial webinars and workshops online and offers financial education discussion groups on LinkedIn for consumers to gather financial knowledge from their peers.2

Check out free webinars and seminars from BECU Investment Services for more information on investing, financial planning, retirement and more.

#3: Manage Your Own Finances

Managing your own finances is a significant way to gain awareness of your financial health. Develop a better understanding of your investments by talking to a financial advisor, and learn where you spend your money by creating a budget. A budget might help you with planning for large purchases or controlling impulse buys that may inadvertently create financial limitations. You can download a budgeting app to help you understand more about your finances or get assistance from a financial advisor.

#4: Read a Book or Listen to an E-book

Dozens of books exist that provide valuable data to help you understand important financial topics. Great for beginners, "Personal Finance for Dummies" by Eric Tyson covers the basics of budgeting and investing and works as a primer for initial financial awareness.

The bestseller "Your Money or Your Life" by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez can teach you how to save and enjoy your life.

For a deeper understanding of your relationship with money, you might want to read "The Psychology of Money" by Morgan Housel. There are hundreds of great finance books. You might ask a financial advisor or visit your local library for more recommendations.

#5: Subscribe to a Magazine or Newsletters

If you do not have the bandwidth for a book, you might consider subscribing to a print or digital magazine or newsletter. Kiplinger's is the only mail delivery magazine devoted to personal finance right now, and it also has an online site. This is a great place to start for the everyday investor.

The LPL Financial Research blog includes the latest data from the government to stock and bond news and everything in between. It's easy to subscribe so it's delivered right to your email inbox.

LPL Research also features a monthly Global Portfolio Strategy (PDF) to showcase the market's outlook for each month.

For a high-level overview of how politics, finances, and economics work together, The Economist offers long-form articles on these topics and will challenge your mind. Websites such as Bankrate and Investopedia can help you review financial concepts if you are looking for a free, online option.

While numerous tools exist to help you improve your financial awareness, it takes your dedicated effort to get the information you need to make informed decisions. Working with a financial advisor is one way to help you analyze areas of concern and potentially create a path for overcoming debt and building wealth.

#6: Local Community Events

Explore some of the local and virtual financial events available in your area. Check with your local libraries or financial advisors to determine when events and seminars may occur. These events may provide you with valuable information and might have a question-and-answer session where you may ask specific financial questions.2

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Important Disclosures:
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.  
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
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1Facts About Youth Financial Knowledge & Capability, https://youth.gov/youth-topics/financial-capability-literacy/facts
2Financial Education for Adults, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/educator-tools/adult-financial-education/