In school, did you have a class on how to balance a checkbook or how to purchase a home? Do you really know what equity is or what a PE ratio indicates? No doubt, while growing up you were taught everything you needed to know about math, science, and literature. You went to school to so you could get into the career of your choice and then start making money. But, what then do you do with your money after you make it?

Start Learning Now!

Whether you are young or old, now is the time for you to fill in all of your financial gaps—to learn everything that you never learned in school about money.  Not everyone needs to be on the same level as a financial advisor, but there are certain things about money and money management that everyone should just know.  Have you always had a difficult time paying your bills?  Or do you just not know how to increase the bottom line in your bank account?  Do you really know what it will take to retire?  If this describes you, then you might want to increase your financial IQ. 

Go to the library and pick up a personal finance book

You might rather want to gouge your eyes out than read a personal finance book, but this is a very important first step in your financial journey.  Before plunking down any money on a book, start your search in the library.  Go to the section with the personal finance books and look for something that catches your eye.  Be careful though, because there are many dry, boring books on the market that will just turn you away from these very necessary and important reads. 

Find something that you actually want to read, and in this case, definitely make sure that you do not judge a book by its cover.  After you have read this book cover-to-cover be sure to take a few important notes to engrain these new lessons into your brain.  After you are done with your first book, it will be important to continue to expand your financial IQ.  You do not need to read hundreds of personal finance books every year, but you should definitely read many books throughout the year. 

So, set a goal for yourself.  Are you going to read one personal finance book a week, a month, every other month?  Set a goal and hold yourself accountable. 

Here is a brief list of the most quintessential personal finance books.  Seek these out first:

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach

Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko

Stay up to date on the economy

If you simply cannot read a long book from front to back, try watching a business channel for a few minutes every week.  Chances are you will learn something about the economy and you will also learn a few new financial terms.  You can also search the financial section of the newspaper or pick up a money magazine at your local bank.  Opportunities to increase your knowledge of finance are everywhere, you just need to take the initiative and seek them out.  When you see something on tv or read something you do not understand, seek out the answer yourself.  You will find this information invaluable. 

Figure out where you are going and how you are going to get there

Do not go into this personal finance journey without knowing what you are doing and where you are going.  Chances are you want to save up for a house, children, or even retirement.  With personal pensions and social security drying up in the decades ahead, you will not have the safety net that many generations before have had.  You must start planning now for your future. 

What is it that you want in your financial future?  Where do you see yourself in 10, 20… 50 years? 

If you are having trouble figuring out your financial goals and even if you have a clear path as to where you want to go, it is highly recommended that you visit a financial advisor.  Do not be afraid of these people.  They do not exist to scam you out of your money.  The good financial advisors will take care of each and everyone of their clients whether they are rich or poor.  Most advisors usually even have free consultations.  So, schedule an appointment and be comforted by the fact that you do not have any obligations to this person.  Find someone who you are comfortable with and personally like.  Remember this person will help you achieve the financial goals that you set for yourself. 

So start now!  The longer you wait the farther away your goals will become!