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5 Ways To Increase Your Financial IQ

By Mark Riddix

Personal finance is an often overlooked area in the American educational system. With so many Americans struggling with money management issues, personal finance should be taught in our school systems at an early age. Since it is not, it is up to every person to make sure that they are properly schooled in the financial arena. If we start educating ourselves about personal finance, we’ll change the generations to come by teaching it to our kids. Financial education is so important to us at Money Crashers, and that’s why we seek to help educate you every day about how to manage your money. Here are 5 great ways for you to increase your financial IQ:

1. Books and Magazines

Whether it’s traditionally bound books or digital content, books and magazines are a great way to grow your financial knowledge. Books like the “Total Money Makeover” and the “Intelligent Investor” can educate investors on everything from getting out of debt to picking winning investment strategies. For a couple of dollars, you can learn practical tips and techniques that will improve your finances and benefit you for the rest of your life. You can also get tips from magazines like Kiplinger’s on topics such as getting out of debt and how to earn extra income. Reading is a great way to increase financial literacy for both adults and children. So, head to your local Barnes & Noble or visit Amazon.com and start reading!

2. Seminars

Attend a local finance seminar. There are a ton of free financial seminars that offer a range of helpful hints. You can find these at your local bank or credit union. There are also seminars at arenas and convention centers with big name speakers like Suze Orman or Dave Ramsey. You may be inspired by seeing one of these personal finance gurus speak in person about everyday financial problems. These seminars do cost money, of course! Be sure to stay away from some of the fraudulent “free” promotions at these seminars; companies sometimes will use high pressure sales techniques to force you into buying expensive company products.

3. Online Websites

Do you want to learn about personal finance for free? Then be sure to check out online personal finance websites and blogs. Sites like Free Money Finance, MoneyNing, and Wise Bread are great online resources to start. I may be somewhat biased, but Money Crashers is a great site to start learning the basics as well! There is a ton of useful money saving tips and reviews of financial products. Also take a look at finance forums in which you can gain valuable information from other users. What are you waiting for? Start googling!

4. Television Shows

I recently wrote a post about the best TV shows for learning about money. While financial television programs alone will not make you financially responsible, they can be valuable learning tools. You can learn quite a bit from the life lessons of other people. I suggested that television watchers check out Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, and Jim Cramer. Money Crashers readers had a great suggestion and threw out the TV show, Clark Howard of CNN. I watched a few of his clips and agreed. Take a few minutes each day and flip to CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg, and CNN to learn while you watch!

5.Smartphone Applications

It may seem ludicrous but your smart phone can help you save money. In a previous post, Erik detailed some of the top financial iPhone apps. Apps like Mint.com, Save Benjis, and Shopping List will help you create a budget and save money on purchases.

What other ways do you know of to increase your financial IQ?

(Photo credit: Adventures of Pam and Frank)

Mark Riddix
Mark Riddix is the founder and president of an independent investment advisory firm that provides personalized investing and asset management consulting. Mark has written financial columns for Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area newspapers and is the author of the book, Your Financial Playbook.

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  • Heidi

    Don’t forget to check out your local library for reading materials at no cost to you. Also, let friends and family know what you want to read – they just may have a copy of “Total Money Makeover” and would be more than willing to lend it to you!

  • http://www.moneyobedience.com/site/home/index.php Money Obedience

    Other available and free resources: family members and financial professionals at your bank, for example, who talk to you about your financial situation free of charge. (Sometimes financial professionals try to push products on you that are not suitable.) I have found that talking to people about their area of expertise has given me much good information that I could use to research a topic further on my own.

  • http://ownthedollar.com Hank

    I would also add taking classes at your local community college too.

  • Secure Trust Bank

    Choose a bank that lets you create pots for different expenditures. You can easily split your monthly allowance and know exactly what you have left to spend each month.

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