How to be better with money in the new year, increase financial literacy

Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 9:02 PM EST
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(WBNG) -- The turn of a calendar year, for some, sparks a chance for new beginnings. When it comes to making improvements or reflections based on the past, financial decisions may come to mind.

At the beginning of the journey of evaluating finances, Chief Brand Officer Steve Campbell with S.E.E.D Planning Group said to view the overall process as not goals to work on, but habits to work on and to make a regular practice.

Everybody wants to be better with their money, but Campbell said many have lofty goals that then they don’t know how to reach.

“Leads to anxiety, depression, it leads to people feeling very insecure that they’re not doing what they see their friends doing,” said Campbell. “If your goals aren’t things that can’t be measured, you don’t really know if you’re on track or making progress the way that you want to.”

Campbell said the last few years with the pandemic and more have given us an opportunity to self-reflect on things happening beyond our control, but what we can control is how to navigate how we spend our money to prepare for the unexpected.

As a new year begins, Campbell said to focus on any changes to the budget this year.

“Budget many times feels restrictive to people so they don’t like to talk about it,” he said. “You have to have an idea of what you’re currently spending to know what you have left over. Not live automatically through your checking account where you tap your card or Apple Pay and you have no idea what’s coming in. So it’s not to convict people as much as, let’s just say, let’s just get down on paper where we’re spending money.”

Another facet to work on this year, according to Campbell, is to review a debt repayment plan when it comes to student loans or credit cards.

“Maybe this is the year that you start looking at maybe some of those more higher interest credit cards that you are paying the majority of the bill at this point in interest,” he said. “What if you lopped that off? What would that additional money each month be able to do for you and your family.”

As you work on your personal journey to financial literacy, the chief brand officer said to stay clear of this misconception.

“Financial planning is not buying financial products from somebody,” said Campbell. “It’s more of a process that should be lively, it should be empowering, it should be an advocate that’s really helping you understand what’s important to you in reaching those goals. It’s not tied to just buying something that’s going to make you feel secure.”

He encouraged adults to have conversations with his/her spouse about money, even if it’s an uncomfortable subject. This will help the pair get on the same page and acknowledge what is currently working and not working well.

For more financial advice on this topic and more, Campbell is part of a podcast called ‘Ditch the Suits’.