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Financial Education Can Pay Dividends for Youth

Financial Education Can Pay Dividends for Youth

According to statistics from the National Council on Economic Education, only seven states require high school students to take a personal finance course while eight others require courses with personal finance content.

This was from a 2004 survey that also showed only nine states test personal finance knowledge. These numbers are beginning to change as the state of Missouri joins the fray and will require one-half unit of credit in personal finance instruction for graduation in 2010.

A 2004 national survey by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy measured 12th graders' knowledge of basic personal finance. On average, students who participated in the survey answered correctly only 52.3 percent of the questions – an “F” in most high school classrooms.

Financial illiteracy isn't a problem limited to students. Half of U.S. adults received a failing grade for their knowledge of basic economic concepts, according to the NCEE.

But there is hope in education. The National Endowment for Financial Education has confirmed that as few as 10 hours of classroom instruction can improve spending and saving habits.

Because financial literacy is fundamental to personal success and a benefit to society, American Century provides support for financial education.

In cooperation with a premier education consultant, the investment manager developed Tips for Kids and Tips for Life, curricula for use in the classroom. To date, these programs have been used by more than 3,000 educators in all 50 states. The free programs are delivered via the Internet to educators and are presented to education conferences to help users implement the programs in their schools.

American Century's efforts to improve financial literacy extend beyond the Tips for Kids and Tips for Life programs. Free educational materials and tools are available on its Web site. And the information presented in American Century founder James E. Stowers' “Yes You Can…” book series is designed to share the personal experiences and ideas that helped him become successful.

Educating today's students on basic financial principles will pay dividends in the future because they are tomorrow's social, political and economic leaders.

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Tips On How To Manage Your Personal Finances (4)

Tips On How To Manage Your Personal Finances

Whether you know a little or a lot about managing your personal finances, you can always benefit from knowing a little bit more. Education is key when it comes to controlling your money. The article below discusses tips and advice to help you stay on top of your personal finances.

A useful personal-finance tip is to investigate different funding sources prior to shopping for a new vehicle. Local banks and credit unions can be terrific sources for advantageous auto finance rates, often beating the manufacturers' captive finance arms. By arranging your own financing prior to visiting a car dealership, you can be certain of getting the very best rate possible.

If you are trying to repair your credit score, you have to be patient. Changes to your score will not happen the day after you pay off your credit card bill. It can take up to ten years before old debt is off of your credit history. Continue to pay your bills on time, and you will get there, though.

A good personal finance tip that can help you save money is to share an entree with your spouse or friend when you decide to eat out. Some restaurants serve portions that are too big for one person anyway. By sharing an entree, you'll save a lot more money.

A great personal finance tip is to start improvising with your workout routine. You don't have to spend a fortune on a gym membership or on expensive equipment. There are a lot of great body weight exercises that you can do at home, and you can get plenty of cardio done outdoors.

Giving children an allowance is a great way to introduce them to personal finance and teach them how to manage money. When they are given age-appropriate chores and paid for a job well done, not only are they motivated to continue doing good work, they are learning about responsibility and the value of a dollar.

Keep your checkbook balanced. It's really not so hard and can save you the expense and embarrassment of bounced checks and overdrawn fees. Do not just call the bank for a balance and count on having that amount in your account. Some debits and checks may not have cleared yet, resulting in overdrafts when they hit the bank.

Read books about personal finance and make a point to do this consistently. Motivational books about personal finance keep you on your toes and help make you make great strides in this department. Dave Ramsey has some really great books out, and I definitely recommend his book “Financial Peace.” It is a great read!

By buying gasoline in different areas where it is more affordable, you can save great amounts of money if done frequently. The difference in cost can add up to savings, but be sure that it is worth your time.

Now that you've come to the end of this article, it is clear what you need to do to manage your personal finances so that they don't spin out of control. Take what you've learned here to heart, and apply the information as necessary. You are now on the road to being financially independent.

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What’s a Career in Personal Finance?

What’s a Career in Personal Finance?

A lot of people often don’t know what they want to be. Those who enter college will often get the course they thought they are interested but later on will change courses as they come to realize their actual calling. For me personal finance was one of the courses in college that really called out at me.

You might say it yelled at me. “Take me as your college course!” That would be ho personal finance would be yelling inside my head. It may be weird to some of you but to most of you who had that epiphany of what you want to be, I know you can relate to what I mean.

To the uninitiated, personal finance is simple taking care of your own or someone else’s money. Although, there’s truth to that, but the process and the responsibilities are not as simple as what you might think. Personal finance is using financial principles to help individuals, families, or a singular unit get money, use that money wisely, save some, learn existing and possible life risks that would affect how they will gain and spend their money.

Okay, it may sound simple but combining all these principles to elements like checking and saving accounts, insurance policies, tax management, credit card loans, investments, retirement plans, and social security benefits, efficiently managing the finances is definitely a challenge.

Part of your job as a personal finance professional would be informing people how their financial decisions will come into play with their lives today or in their future. It is your responsibility to educate them on the consequences of their financial actions. With this in mind it is important to provide regular assessments of the client’s finances. Reevaluating the steps that were previously undertaken for financial gain and security should be conducted also on a regular basis to keep the financial situation updated and always in perspective.

Assessing where you are so far financially would mean getting all those balance sheets and income statements in order and trying to balance the values. Simple balancing of assets and liabilities is always the first step in assessment.

Once you know where you stand, you can set goals and objectives. It’s planning aside where you will be financially in say ten or fifteen years. Living off your pension after ten years, enjoying the good life is a goal that most people set for themselves. This is a good goal, since after working for years you earn the right to live the rest of your life relaxed and comfortable. Personal finance professional is supposed to help clients reach their personal goals.

To reach their goals, it is imperative that one has a concrete plan of action. In this plan, financial details will be laid out. Short term and long term goals with corresponding financial computations will help make overall financial planning a lot easier both for the client and the personal finance professional .

Now, assessment, setting objectives, and planning can all be tiring and time consuming stuff but the reason for all these meticulous planning is to ensure that implementation of the personal financial plan will go smooth. Admittedly, the most difficult phase of personal finance management is setting the plan in motion and sticking to it. Discipline is the word here. You need to constantly remind yourself of your final goal to keep you motivated and stick to your financial plan.

With this in mind, it would be important to conduct regular assessments and evaluations along the way. This will keep you focus and see if you have deviated from the main financial plan. You can put yourself back on track through regular reevaluation of your financial status.

This is basically what a career in persona finance will take you. Focusing on individuals or families and helping them with their financial management while incorporating philosophies, ideas, and elements of business and financial management techniques. Is this for you? For me it is.

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How to Find the Best Retirement Plans

How to Find the Best Retirement Plans

You have been longing for the day that you no longer have to rush for the bus or step on that gas, head for the office as fast as you can in order not to be late.

All of these will come true by the time you reach your retirement age. It is a point in your life wherein work is no longer attractive yet income remains the top most necessity. If the day comes that you will no longer have to work, the biggest dilemma will be on what will happen next?

A retirement plan is a requirement if you are to take pleasure and benefit from the moment after you have decided to retire.

Most often than not, people are not concerned about retirement plans. They simply pass the time and believe that retirement will eventually take place, with or without retirement plan.

What they failed to realize is that creating a retirement plan is the next most important thing any working individual should work with. What lies ahead is never too clear for people who do not have solid retirement plans.

What Is Retirement Plan?

Retirement plans are, forms of agreement that cater to give people with a considerable amount of money by the time they have reached their retirement age. These amounts are enough to compensate their continuous struggle for existence even if they are no longer working or earning the kind of income they used to make before.

In most cases, retirement plans are established by government, employers, trade unions, or some financial institutions such as insurance companies.

In essence, there are only two major types of retirement plans — “defined contribution” and “defined benefit.” These plans are classified according to how the remunerations are resolved.

Defined contribution refers to retirement plans that will give disbursements based on the amount of contributions that the benefactor has paid.

On the other hand, defined benefit refers to a particular type of retirement plan wherein the disbursements are based on the flat rate as computed from the employee’s membership years and the amount of his income while employed.

Considering these facts, not all retirement plans are deemed equal. Hence, it is best to analyze your status and determine what type of retirement plan will work best for you. You need to consider some factors to help you with your decision.

1. Reflect on the advantages and benefits

Retirement plans were especially designed to give you the benefits that you need by the time you reach your retirement age.

However, not all benefits are the same. What may seem beneficial for the others may not necessarily work for you.

Therefore, consider the type of benefits that you need and consider them upon evaluating a particular retirement plan.

2. Know the law

Be sure that the retirement plan that you will take is inconformity with the present law on retirement. This will guarantee your safety in the future.

3. Read the fine print

Reading the fine print is important in analyzing the reliability of a particular retirement plan. Every benefit and rule should be explained in details through the catalog.

If you think that the conditions are too good to be true, then, they probably are. Hence, try to consider other choices.

Familiarize yourself with retirement plans before making a decision. This will help you create a dependable future ahead.

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