When I graduated from college into The Great Recession back in 2010 I had a very sobering realization: I didn't learn jack about money in school.
I learned about how to find the circumference of an oval (In case I ever need to measure a toilet bowl?) but I never learned about credit cards, taxes, investing or the importance of asking for more money.
Fortunately, I had this realization at a very young age - I was barely 22 at the time. A baby! Fast forward six years and I've basically given myself the financial education I never got in school.
Not only that, but I learned that some of the most financially well-off people I know also ended up having to give themselves a financial education because the information isn't as democratized as it should be.
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So, if you're now just starting to teach yourself about finances, buckle up because I'm about to show you how to give yourself a crash course about money.
Start with books
For me, my financial education started with books. More specifically, I started with books that would explain the basics and address my specific needs as a young adult. In my case, I wasn't in debt so I didn't have to find a specific book on that, though if you are I would recommend starting there.
The first book I ever read was Suze Orman's Money Book for the Young,
This also opened up my appetite for finance books. The more I saw progress in my own financial life, the more I wanted to learn.
Another place where you can get a financial education is with blogs. Granted, not all blogs are created equal so you'll want to find credible ones that actually teach personal finance. You can start by checking out the attendee list for The Financial Blogger Conference as they have an excellent community of bloggers and writers who teach personal finance for a living.
This was truly the next step for me after reading books. I wanted to specifically learn from the experiences of other people. The great thing about the financial blogger community is they tend to be very open about their financial hardships, their wins, what's working for them and what's not working for them. In many ways, since I was learning from their experiences I felt like I wasn't alone.
Additionally, it was by reading financial blogs that I started meeting people who understood money better than I did. These are people who I turn to whenever I have a question about my finances and they haven't let me down yet.
Do the work
The final step in giving yourself the financial education you never got in school is to learn by trial and error. What I mean by this is you need to do the work.
I'm the type of person who learns by doing, so this was especially important for me. Besides, there's only so much reading you can do. If you don't take any action then it's utterly pointless.
Granted, you may have some missteps along the way. This is completely okay. Just learn from your mistakes, pick yourself back up and try again. For example, the reason I started prioritizing emergency savings is because I had an emergency and didn't have enough liquid cash. This compelled me to really put my savings into overdrive and I haven't had an issue since.
Since financial education isn't taught in most schools, it's up to you to learn how money works. Fortunately, there are a plethora of resources available to you. You just need to actually reach for them.