For Financial Literacy Month, Debt.com spoke with money experts from all walks of life.
For the past 19 years, the U.S. government has acknowledged April as National Financial Literacy Month with the mission to teach Americans how money works.
Over 84 percent of Americans believe financial literacy should be taught in school. The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic shows it may be more important than ever.
To better understand how to approach financial literacy for such a unique nation of people, Debt.com spoke with five financial bloggers. Find out their biggest money lessons…
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Dominique Reese, Reese Financial
Looking back on the 18 years it took for Dominique Reese to achieve entrepreneurship, her biggest regret is she didn’t take the plunge sooner.
The financial consultant and strategist with Reese Financial Services believes that all people are born with a unique purpose to contribute to the world around them. And a job is simply a means to support that.
Reese feels people too often spend money to distract themselves rather than save and invest in an entrepreneurial dream. This is what she would tell her younger self given the opportunity…
“Save enough money so you can fire yourself,” Reese told Debt.com. “Our value is all equal, but we’re not conditioned to believe that. Jobs should only be used to refine our goals.”
Chelsea Brennan, Smart Money Mamas
As an investment hedge fund manager for seven years, Brennan knew how to make rich people wealthier. But she felt her quality of life was growing poor.
Taking the trip to the Wall Street offices in office attire for 80 hours a week wasn’t exactly what she dreamed of as a young girl. Then in 2017, as a 26-year-old woman with a child of her own, Brennan launched Smart Money Mamas to teach other mothers how to better manage their finances.
“Money management is truly self-care,” Brennan said. “You don’t want to get stuck in jobs or relationships that don’t serve you. When you want a change in your life, you can afford to.”
Todd Kunsman, Invested Wallet
Unlike many financial professionals, Todd Kunsman has no background in finances. The graphic design graduate was saddled with a collective $50,000 amount of debt between student loans, car payments, and credit cards when he started his first job out of college.
The worst imaginable scenario happened, he was laid off. Armed only with a few do-it-yourself personal finance books and a will to learn he began laying out a plan to not only pull himself out of the red but climb into the black.
Kunsman soon found himself a new 9 to 5 and a passion for teaching others about their finances the same way he learned. He launched Invested Wallet as a hobby, educational resource, and tool for everyday Americans with little to no experience with money.
The goal is simple: take your time and you too can learn. Kunsman spent time reading through finance books like “I’ll Teach You to be Rich,” “Your Path to Wealth,” and “The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing.”
“Just get started,” Kunsman said. “Looking back, I was intimidated to learn how money works. Don’t be afraid to dive in and ask questions.”
Sarah Wilson, Budget Girl
Sarah Wilson graduated college with $33,000 in debt and took a job earning $26,000 a year as a newspaper reporter in Louisiana. Until she was laid off, that is.
Wilson put her student loan payments into deferment while she searched for a new job. After landing her next job, she was determined to pay off her student loan debt. By working one full-time job and a side pizza delivery gig, Wilson made some progress.
She documented her journey through YouTube videos as a hobby. That hobby would eventually morph into a bigger umbrella of social media accounts and a website called BudgetGirl.
Wilson managed to stay motivated by the group of followers and others she followed in an online network of like-minded personal finance influencers called “The Debt-Free Community.”
Her advice is to ban together with others to motivate each other.
“Other people who were trying to get out of debt found me,” Wilson said. “It became this little community. And they were rooting for me and supported me.”
R.J. Weiss, The Ways to Wealth
Before building The Ways to Wealth, a personal finance blog with educational content and resources, R.J. Weiss worked in the financial services industry.
Weiss brings more than a decade worth of experience to his 10 million readers with how-to articles and guides on how to better understand how money works. The most important thing for Americans to lesson is to prioritize their goals, Weiss told Debt.com.
“Knowing what’s important to you can help you achieve that goal,” Weiss says. “You can’t have it all. But there’s a lot you can have – if you prioritize.”
Published by Debt.com, LLC