Education: The First Step Toward Financial Empowerment

The following blog post is part of The Road to Financial Wellness blog tour. The Road to Financial Wellness is a three-month, grassroots campaign promoting financial empowerment on a national level and encourages people to pursue their dream lifestyle. Find out more about local events near you.

The concept of financial empowerment can mean many things to many people.

It can mean having flexibility with your finances, being proactive with your money, having an emergency fund so you always are prepared or it could mean something entirely different!

To do all of those things though, and how I ultimately feel financially empowered, is feeling knowledgeable enough about money and our situation to feel like I’m making the best decision at that time.

What exactly do you educate yourself on?

Educate doesn’t have to mean only reading books and news sites to stay up to date on the latest market trends and ways to make or save money.

It means being aware of your financial situation. Bills, income, budget, retirement goals.

It means knowing your tax situation to ensure you’re having enough taken out each paycheck.

It means knowing how long it will take to pay off your debt at your current rate AND how much interest you will be paying over that time frame.

It means reading about other’s financial situations to learn from what they are doing right AND what they could be doing better.

And it can mean even more than that too.

The more you know, the better decisions you will be able to make when it comes time. Many decisions don’t have a 100% correct answer, but if you’re armed with the best information you can feel empowered to make your decision and know that you’re putting yourself in the best situation possible.

One of my biggest worries when it comes to finances is that I will make the “wrong” decision when it comes to a situation. Maybe I won’t put money in my 401k in the right spot and I’ll lose out on some big gain. Perhaps we should be putting money toward our student loan debt instead of continuing to build up our emergency fund.

There are always options and it’s natural to worry.

But ultimately, feeling confident in your choices by educating yourself will help you worry less and feel more empowered to make financial decisions that can help you gain financial flexibility.

The Long Road

The road to financial wellness is a long one, filled with different paths, speed bumps, pot holes and other obstacles. But the more empowered you are the smoother (and faster!) you can go on your way to financial flexibility.

That dream lifestyle you picture when you think of having financial flexibility is out there, and it may not even necessarily be at the end of the road. There is always work to be done.

But the way you’re going to optimize your way down that path is to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. Because feeling empowered is feeling confident in being able to make the best decision for your situation.

And everyone’s situation is different. After all, that’s why it’s personal finance.

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