My friend and I were talking recently about the process of buying a car and house as he is from Eastern Europe. To my surprise, at the end of our conversation he asked “does the American public school system teach anything about personal finances?” I laughed really loud and replied “um…no they do not and it is a travesty.” The only thing I remember about being taught in grade school was how to balance a check book and obviously about currency and had to add and subtract it. I suppose if you want to get more technical then I remember learning about compound interest but I don’t remember it being taught in a practical way such as “these credit card companies are the devil and this is how they will get you with something called daily compound interest.”
Do You Remember Who Taught You About Personal Finances?
Ok, maybe that was a little harsh as credit cards haven’t done anything to me per se. In college, I do remember representatives from their companies always standing outside of student union ready to hand out high interest credit cards offers to students who were eager get their hands on “fast money.” I don’t have a vivid memory of being taught directly about finances but more so indirectly about personal finances. At home, if I used my parents computer I would always see an excel spreadsheet on the screen. I learned later it was how my Dad kept track of all the money he had a going out for layaways from the Base Exchange, credit cards, utilities and etc. When I was out on my own I did the best I could but now I wish that I had actually taught myself about finances and that I wasn’t afraid to take investment risks with money. Who knows where I would have been financially.
As an African-American woman I feel this is such an important topic. Nationwide, women are typically paid $0.80 for every dollar paid to men but we are better savers of our money. However, this savings does not make up for the earning shortcomings. Also, this topic hits close to home because half of all black American households accounting for over 7 million families of three, have a total net work of less than $1,700. We can’t depend on our public education system or anyone else to teach us about personal finance. It is something we must seek out on our own and that time is now.
Pigly is a Reliable Source to Learn About Personal Finances
I came across a site named ‘Pigly‘ that has a bunch of resources to help people like you and I to learn more about personal finances. The site is dedicated to helping people solve their financial issues by providing tools and information that help you save money. You will find a plethora of tips and tools whether you need help with savings, credit cards, buying a home or car, consolidating debt, budgeting or perhaps even business. What I found really cool is the site has a FREE suite of online calculators in each of these areas that help you to making better financial decisions is your life.
Here are some calculators on the site that I found really helpful and want to highlight:
- Savings – now ya’ll know I am all about saving a coin and I’m all ears as to how I can save more. This calculator is going to factor in the annual interest rate, combined state and federal tax rate as well as the annual inflation rate to show you how may years it will take you to get to your future savings goal. You can also learn about the types of different accounts there are out there that it would be best to put your money in.
- Mortgage – if you are even considering buying a home, please look here first! You will find a calculator for each type of fixed rate mortgages (such as fixed rate mortgage vs ARM), a rent vs buy calculator, mortgage qualifier to determine how much house you can afford and much more. You will not regret spending your time browsing this section.
- Credit Cards – this section will show you how to make the most out of your credit cards by comparing your cards against one another, how much interest the cards is accruing by not paying it off, whether minimum payments are helping or hurting your case and more
- Retirement – if you were like me in my 20’s and never took the time to understand how to save for retirement really seriously. Here you can find out all the different retirement accounts that may be best for you and how you can live your best life now and in the future.
The Economic Impact of COVID-19
Folks in the U.S. literally went to work as usual on a Monday in March only unknowingly say “have a good night” to their colleagues for the last time as they were unemployed shortly thereafter because of coronavirus. With a sudden loss of income it could totally rock your world and livelihood out of wack. COVID-19 will leave a lasting imprint on the world economy. I would recommend using the Personal Budget planner which allows you to estimate your income and convert it to budgetary baselines for you to see if how much you may want to change your spending habits. You would enter in your net-income that you would like calculated into budget expenses. Then you get to see how each expense falls in line to the range of how you are dividing up your check.
Do yourself and your pocketbook favor and check out Pigly.com.
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