The Benefits of Personal Finance Education
Personal finance is essentially the fiscal management that an individual, a couple, or a family performs in order to budget, save, invest, and spend money over a period of time, considering various external financial risks and prospective life outcomes. The discipline involves managing day-to-day expenses, retirement savings, real estate assets, insurance policies, and investments. It can be taught in a formal classroom setting, via a correspondence or personal-learning approach, or via the use of various life-based learning applications such as Wealthy Affiliates. The curriculum should include core courses such as budgeting, savings, investing, and money management. Some personal finance courses may also introduce students to risk management and life plan design.
Most people have a general idea of what personal finance entails. However, they often do not understand how it impacts their everyday financial decisions. In fact, a good understanding of personal finance helps individuals make sound financial decisions in a timely and effective manner. There are three major benefits of having a solid personal finance foundation. First, it helps individuals reduce their risk of financial distress through a solid understanding of how individual and household finances fit together. Second, by planning for unexpected expenses, individuals can ensure that they have enough money to meet short-term needs, such as when they apply for a mortgage, purchase a car, or pay for college tuition.
Another benefit is a better understanding of budgeting. Budgeting is the process of setting up monthly and annual personal finance goals for a specific goal, such as buying a new car, saving for retirement, or saving for children’s education. In addition, budgeting helps individuals understand the relationship between savings and spending. Finally, budgeting helps individuals set and reach realistic personal finance goals and makes them aware of potential pitfalls. Therefore, before making financial decisions, individuals must have a solid understanding of personal finance.
A third benefit is more directly related to budgeting: personal finance education. Having an education provides individuals with the information they need to succeed at financial management. As stated above, having a plan is essential, but having the knowledge to create that plan is equally important. Financial management training teaches students how to set up a budget, develop a savings plan, determine which investments are most cost-effective, and how to select retirement investments that will help them achieve their long-term goals.
The fourth benefit of having a solid personal finance foundation is staying on track with long-term goals. Having realistic expectations about your own future earnings, as well as those of your family, ensures that individuals will not get too comfortable with saving and spending. Similarly, financial goals are essential to long-term planning, which means that individuals will be able to save for the future, even when employment opportunities are not as solid as they may be in the past.
Lastly, having a firm understanding of personal finance education can benefit you throughout your life. Whether you are planning for your own retirement, or you simply want to learn more about how you can improve your savings and investing habits so that you can reach your goals, this knowledge is invaluable. Even if you never use all of the ideas you have learned in a formal financial education class, you can still benefit by understanding the concepts behind it. Remember, the more you know about personal finance, the more confident you will feel about making smart financial decisions in the here and now and throughout your lifetime.