What do saving your money and saving your teeth have in common?

This week kicks off Financial Literacy Month. While I’m excited about this, I completely understand why you’re not.

I’ve always equated financial literacy with flossing your teeth: You know it’s good for you and takes only a few minutes, but you can’t get motivated to do it regularly.

The analogy gets worse.

Putting your mouth where your money is

Eventually, most of us make a dental appointment and sit in the uncomfortable chair while a hygienist scrapes plaque off our teeth with very sharp instruments. We endure getting cavities drilled. We pay for root canals. Why? Because we grasp this simple fact: It might hurt a little bit now, but if I don’t do this, it’ll hurt a lot more later.

Sadly, most of us haven’t come to the same realization about our money.

The controversy that shouldn’t be

Financial Literacy Month has many facets, but the main thrust is simple: We need to teach both children and adults about achieving and maintaining freedom from debt. Doesn’t sound controversial, does it? Yet last month, I had to defend the concept of financial literacy from a take-down by the national website Slate. Right before 2014’s Financial Literacy Month, Debt.com’s editor had to similarly fend off an economist and a Harvard professor.

Until high schools and colleges require their students learn money management, it’s up to you. I believe Americans need to brush up on their money smarts just like they brush their teeth: It needs to be a small daily habit.

That’s why Debt.com is here. If you never visit this website again, I urge you to first click on our Tools & Tips section. There. you can learn about the major forms of debt and how to get out from under them all — either by doing it yourself or asking for professional help. Frankly, I don’t care how you do it. I just want you to lead a long life with clean teeth and clean finances.

Check out Debt.com every Wednesday in April for our special Financial Illiteracy Month series, in which we show you graphic examples of what NOT to do to become debt-free!

Howard Dvorkin is a CPA and chairman of Debt.com, an educational resource for those who want to conquer all forms of debt in their lives.

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About the Author

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

I’m a certified public accountant who has authored two books on getting out of debt, Credit Hell and Power Up, and I am one of the personal finance experts for Debt.com. I have focused my professional endeavors in the consumer finance, technology, media and real estate industries creating not only Debt.com, but also Financial Apps and Start Fresh Today, among others. My personal finance advice has been included in countless articles, and has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Forbes and Entrepreneur as well as virtually every national and local newspaper in the country. Everyone should have a reason for living that’s bigger than themselves, and besides my family, mine is this: Teaching Americans how to live happily within their means. To me, money is not the root of all evil. Poor money management is. Money cannot buy happiness, but going into debt always buys misery. That’s why I launched Debt.com. I’m glad you’re here.

Published by Debt.com, LLC