Mastering personal finances is easier than you might think

By Thomas Celles.

Most people are fairly familiar with the concept of personal finance. They know it has something to do with maintaining credit, budgeting, and saving and that being financially literate is generally a good thing. If given the opportunity, most students believe that they could benefit from a course in personal finance and “most students” are right.

A 2017 study done by the National Endowment of Financial Education and George Washington University shows some alarming results when it comes to our generation’s financial literacy. Of the 5,525 millennials surveyed, 69 percent said they had a “high level” of finance know-how. But only 24 percent of those respondents showed even a basic knowledge of personal finance.

You may be surprised to hear that NSU actually does have a class on personal finance. FIN 2150 is a 3-credit course offered by the School of Business, but most students don’t take it. In fact, most of the students I spoke with while writing this article said they hadn’t even heard of the class and were unaware that it was an option. Taking the Personal Finance can be an excellent way to get an in-depth view on a variety of financial topics, but everyone may not have the time to fit it in their schedules.

A great deal of financial literacy comes from knowing about credit. Credit is basically the amount of trust a bank, finance company, or credit card has in your ability to pay them back for money you borrow. Your credit score is one of the most important numbers in your life, right up there with your Social Security number and your phone number. Credit scores range from 300 to 850. The higher your score, the better your credit is.

To simplify a fairly complicated system, if your score is anything below 650, you’re definitely going to want to start looking up ways to bump up those numbers. Above 700 and you’re golden. If you’re ever curious about what your credit score is (and you should be), try going to creditkarma.com and making an account to find out.

In today’s day and age, most of the hard pen-and-paper work has been taken out of personal finance. Websites like wisebread.com can teach you most of what you need and apps can do most of the work, so there’s really no excuse to not be on top of your game. Everything from filing your taxes, learning to budget, investing, opening a credit card, or managing debt can be done with a few taps from a smartphone.

It’s never been easier to become financially literate, and there are more advantages to it than there are commas on Warren Buffett’s bank statements.

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