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BBB offers tips for budgeting and saving during Financial Literacy Awareness Month

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 5:15 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - According to a Career Builder survey from 2017, 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. From credit card debt to student loans to a lack of savings, America doesn’t even rank in the top ten of most financially literate countries in the world.

“Financial literacy is just a general understanding of how to manage the financial side of your life, whether it is paying your bills, saving, investing or retirement planning,” Julie Wheeler with the Better Business Bureau said. “Those are all things we need to understand.”

But according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, more than half of U.S. adults are anxious when it comes to money.

“A lot of us take it for granted or say, ‘we’ll worry about that later,’” Wheeler said. “But we really need to be educated and understand the steps we need to take now.”

Creating a family budget and sticking to it is step number one. Wheeler added budgeting includes intentionally saving.

“Sometimes it’s a good idea when you get your paycheck to what we call pay yourself first. So put a little bit in savings before you pay your bills.”

There are many free apps and websites that can help you plan when and where to spend your money. Including, of course, the BBB.

“Go to our site, look it up,” Wheeler said. “If you have questions, give us a call because there’s great information on there.”

Something else you may never have had to think about before this year is managing someone else’s money, whether it’s a parent or grandparent who has become ill.

“You want to make sure that a power of attorney is put into place, as well as medical directives, before it’s an issue, so that if something happens, you are automatically able to take care of their affairs,” Wheeler said.

Work with your loved ones to know where their important documents, passwords and financial contacts are. Preparation is key.

“‘Cause when something happens, again it typically is unscheduled and an emergency and you can’t stop making the mortgage payment or stop paying all their bills or other obligations they may have,” she said.

Whether it’s your money or a family member’s, financial literacy is key to pursuing goals; planning for education, retirement, and emergencies; getting out of debt; and running a business.

Another easy thing to do is set up an appointment with a financial advisor who can help you organize your bank accounts, figure out where your money should be allocated and set up plans for the future.

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