Learning for Life

I was watching the news last night and saw a rather alarming report that only %5 of high school seniors in America had passed a financial literacy test. That means that %95 of high school students about to graduate are going into the work force or even into University with absolutely no idea of how to manage their money and what is happening in their financial world. It is no wonder that so many people get into such financial trouble in their 20’s and then spend years digging out from the devastation.

The good news is that, no matter what your age, you are here today, learning to better manage your money. You may be in the aftermath of financial ignorance right now, but learning to budget is a wonderful step forward. It will keep you from digging the hole that you are in any deeper, and it is also your tool for climbing your way out.

The next step on your journey to establishing a budget is to determine what you are averaging in spending in each of the categories that we established yesterday. We are also going to determine each bill’s due date, as that is critical to knowing which paycheck each bill must come out of and it’s placement in the budget. So get out your list and let’s start with your Mortgage/Rent. It will be easy to determine because it is a fixed amount each month. Write down the amount and the date that it is due by. I want you to do this for every bill that is fixed (does not fluctuate from month to month).

If you do not have paper statements, you can check online for your bills. Most companies now allow you to access your account online and will let you see your bills for the last few months. If you do not have online access to your bill, you can also check your bank statement (or check book register) to track your spending in a category. If all this fails, you can always call the company and they will definitely be able to give you your bill totals for the last few months.

As for fluctuating bills, you are just going to have to come back tomorrow. And just in case you are feeling tempted not to come back, I am adding the link to the financial literacy test that I mentioned at the beginning…

One of the things that I love about life is that there is always more to learn. We will only know everything when we are dead and have met the source of all knowledge face to face. In the mean time we can rejoice because there is never a situation that is too hopeless for God, and we are never too old, or too young, to learn.