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3 Financial Tips You Can Use

April is National Financial Literacy Month, and a great time to think about some important lessons everyone can learn about finances. Whether you’re a parent talking about money with your kids or a professional looking for a few tips, there’s always something to learn.

Here are some fun activities you can do to expand your financial knowledge.

1. Make A Financial Date Night

Most people dread doing anything with their money (until there’s a serious issue).

If you want to improve your knowledge of finances this month, schedule a financial date night with your spouse or friends. Put some light music on. Pour yourself a glass of wine. Sit down with your bills, and figure out where you stand.

Make it fun – Daydream and figure out what your future looks like. Jot down some goals and think about how you can achieve them through your monthly budget.

2. Like. Discover. Win.

Encourage your teen to “Like” financial tips as part of Elements of Money’s “Like. Discover. Win” contest. They could earn a $50 gift card to spend at their favorite store or restaurant.

Take it one step further, and have them make a list of things they want/need to buy over the next few months. Think about ways to earn (or save) money for these things.

Listing priorities is the first step to making solid plans and reshaping your financial destiny. When you know where your money is going, you can start to move from financially existing to intentionally spending. That’s the beginning of improved financial literacy.

3. Take Charge Of Your Retirement Planning

A key part of financial literacy is planning for when you can’t work anymore. Consider:

  • Attending our free “Know Your Dough: Investing Basics” workshop Tuesday, April 14. Matt Griffin, financial consultant, will discuss retirement goals and priorities, investment basics and options, how to calculate the money you’ll need in retirement, and how to map out a strategy with your financial advisor.
  • Contributing to your employer’s 401(k) program, if you’re not doing it already. Most employers will match contributions up to a certain level. If you’re not contributing enough to get the full match, you’re leaving money on the table. Set up automatic contributions out of every paycheck to make saving easier.
  • April 15 is the last day to contribute to an IRA for 2014. Even if you’ve already filed your taxes, you can file an amended return to get credit for your contribution.
  • Retirement laws are complicated, and it takes an expert to really understand their intricacies. There’s also no shame in asking for help – our investment team is here to make sure you’re ready for retirement.