Financial Literacy

How to Become Financially Literate {Infographic}

How to Becoming Financially Literate

April is National Financial Literacy Awareness Month, which makes it a month to celebrate in my mind. The sad part is so few people even realize what financial literacy is and why it should matter to them. We all handle money and being able to make good decisions with how we use our money is critical to our long-term success.

My father started his “money lessons” with me over dinner when I was thirteen, and those simple lessons changed my life forever. In his honor, I will be sharing tips to help you become financially literate and live your best life throughout April. Today, I’ve created an infographic celebrating Financial Literacy Month and outlining basic steps to help you get started in your journey to financial literacy.

How to Become Financially Literate #infogaphic Shannon

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  1. Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
    Can't stress enough the importance of tracking your spending and income. I've been doing it for almost two years now and it's been really beneficial, especially to see if there are categories or areas that look higher than they should be. It's hard to adjust your finances if you don't know where you stand.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
      Absolutely, DC! It's such a simple step but it truly makes a difference. People think they know what they spend their money but whenever they start tracking their expenses, they are also surprised by how much they spend on little things that seem inconsequential in the moment. You can't make changes unless you know where you're spending your money.
  2. Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
    This is a great infographic Shannon!! And it is crazy to think that Financial Literacy Month is only 3 years old. The education absolutely has to start in the home first, I didn't get the types of money lessons that could have made me make smarter choices because my parents didn't have the education. It is a vicious cycle that I am breaking with my son. I think that too many parents still think that money is taboo or they know they are making poor money choices and do not want to share those with their kids; however, kids can learn from negative examples as much as positive ones.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
      I'm so glad you're breaking the cycle with your son. It is a vicious cycle that will continue to repeat itself if we don't stand up and make it stop. I agree that many parents feel uncomfortable talking about finances because they are embarrassed by some of their own money mistakes. They think they are also protecting their children by not sharing their mistakes. But kids learn from observing, so whether you actively teach them or not, they still learn your habits and beliefs and many times mimic them. Your son will benefit tremendously from your open conversations and some day (many years from now) he'll pass those same lessons onto his kids.
  3. Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
    I tracked my spending for about 3-4 months before setting up an official budget. This really helped to make it more obtainable and realistic since I knew I wasn't leaving anything out that I had regularly been spending money on.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
      Fantastic! Yes, it's good to track before creating your budget so you can set a realistic budget that you will follow. A lot of people leap right to setting a budget without understanding their spending habits, then wonder why they struggle to follow it. Understanding how you spend and why you spend make it much easier.
  4. Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
    Excellent infographic. It's sad that so many high school students received a failing grade in financial literacy. It would be interesting to see what is on that test. The amount of student loan debt and the amount of people who lack any retirement savings is also disturbing. Hopefully, Financial Literacy Awareness month will shine a light on these problems and motivate people to take steps to become financially literate and handle their finances more responsibly.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
      I have seen a sample of the 2006 quiz on my blog: if you want to take it. :) It always shocks me when I see how little people have saved for retirement. So many people know they need to save, but they keep putting it off, thinking they have so much time. I believe that as we continue to promote financial literacy that we can make a difference. We see it every day in our blogs. :)
  5. Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
    Funny how our government proclaimed April to be Financial Literacy Month when they themselves do so little to model appropriate fiscal behavior to our country's citizens. Sorry to get political, I just find that humorous/ironic/sad. Perhaps they need to be reading our blogs. :)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
      It is a bit humorous/ironic/sad. Although in some ways it makes sense, the people creating our laws and governing us aren't necessarily financially literate themselves, which is also a bit scary.
  6. Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
    Awesome info! This just got me reenergized for my own financial life. We all need that boost sometimes. :)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
      Thanks, Tonya! Yes, we all need that boost sometimes to keep us motivated! Glad I could give you that boost. :)
  7. Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
    Hi Shannon,

    I read a startling statistic the other day that somewhere around 30% of parents didn't feel qualified enough to teach their kids about money. I'm glad this financial literacy month is around to create an awareness. Money management isn't something you should learn after your 18 flying by the seat of your pants. I do a lot of party/event planning and I couldn't imagine how terribly things would go if it was all improvised with no planning [cue cold sweats].

    All the best,
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
      I believe that statistic. It's one of the more common reasons parents share with me as to why they don't talk to their kids about money. Their own financial situation is messy and they don't want to share that with their kids. I agree wholeheartedly that money management isn't something you should learn by the seat of your pants, yet that is what is happening in most families. Parents start talking as their kids head off to college, which is too late to start the conversation. The earlier you start - the better. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Laura!
  8. Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
    Student loan debt is at $1 trillion?? Good grief! That is such a sad statistic. :( Why is higher learning so expensive? Ugh...
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
      Yeah, it's pretty scary and my understanding is that it's even higher now. :(
  9. Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
    Love this infographic. Always grateful for the example my parents set for me with their spending.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
      Thanks, Stefanie. Love that your parents set a great example for you with how they used their money. It really does make a huge difference.
  • Meet Shannon

    "As a Certified Financial Planner, it is my passion to help individuals and families build a healthy relationship with money. I look forward to helping you raise financially confident kids.” - Shannon Ryan