How to Improve Your Financial Capability

Our school years are filled with learning the “three Rs” – “reading, (w)riting, and (a)rithmetic.” Obviously, we need those to get through life. But our education leaves out some other important life skills – like household budgeting, investing, and managing debt. If we’re lucky, family or friends give us guidance. But usually what happens is we learn – and make mistakes – as we go.

There is plenty of trustworthy and free information out there to teach us what we need to know. April is Financial Capability Month – also known as Financial Literacy Month – so it’s a great opportunity to learn more. A proclamation from Gov. Jay Inslee notes that improving our financial capability can help us in many ways, such as:

  • Preparing us to manage money, credit, investments, and debt.
  • Improving the quality of our lives.
  • Securing our family’s future.
  • Contributing to the health of our communities.

The sooner we start becoming comfortable with financial topics, the more confident we become in managing our money. And we can understand economic news a bit more. Right now, for example, some experts are predicting we’re heading for a recession – and an equal number of experts are saying we’re not! Economic trends and recessions affect us all, and learning the basics can help us understand the big picture.

Ready to take some steps to improve your financial capability?

  • Online tutorials offered by the Washington State Treasurer cover topics ranging from the basics (credit cards, checking accounts, etc.) to owning a home and investing in your future.
  • Improving your credit score and saving money for emergencies are among the articles from the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions.
  • The same department also maintains a calendar of free online and in-person classes open to the public.

Finally, here are just a few tips from the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs:

  • Talk about your finances with your spouse or other family members and help each other make a plan.
  • Set some financial goals.
  • Track your spending.
  • Read a finance book or listen to a money-related podcast.

Working on your financial capability can improve not just your knowledge and skills, but also your confidence that you are building a secure future for yourself and your family. That’s something to celebrate!