Financial advice can come from all facets of life. You may have heard your grandmother say, “Save for a rainy day.” Your parents might have encouraged you to work hard in school to get a good job. Maybe you follow a few personal finance blogs.
According to a national study by FINRA, “only 34% of respondents could answer at least four of five basic financial literacy questions on topics such as mortgages, interest rates, inflation, and risk.” But here’s the thing: Whatever we focus on grows. If you spend more time on financial education, you become more aware and make better choices. In that same FINRA study, respondents who have participated in a substantial amount of financial education are more likely to save and less likely to overdraw on their checking accounts.
So, if financial education is the answer, honest money discussions should be part of it. And who would have better financial advice than people who spend all day thinking about how to help their clients move toward a better financial future? We asked five veteran Freedom Financial Network employees what financial advice they would give to their friends, and since these five have worked at Freedom for over 10 years, they had some interesting perspectives. Take a look:
Understand your options – Brett B., Underwriting Quality Specialist
“I have had friends that have struggled with their finances. My financial advice is to understand all of your options. Seek out the advice of a trusted advisor, and not just in one area, but understand all the options available to you.
Then, go over the options very carefully: the pros and the cons. Choose a path that you can live with: one that’s financially feasible and fits your lifestyle. Then once you make that choice, relax. Let things happen. It’s not going to correct itself overnight, but in time, it will. It’s only money. It’s only time. It’s only credit. Those things will rebuild. They will come back.”
Your money isn’t your value – Daniel C., Managing Editor
“My first piece of advice is don’t beat yourself up. Be gentle with yourself. People look at this as a defining quality. Like their financial problem defines them as a person or that their value is tied to this issue. And that’s not true.
There are many things that you do that people recognize the value that you add to their lives. Not everything is about finances. That’s not to minimize the financial issue but to say, ‘Let’s just deal with that problem. This is not about your self-worth.’”
Get a hold on your expenses – Amy S., Senior Administrator, Engineering
“Understand your expenses and divide them into two categories: variable and consistent. If you get a grip on what is variable and what is consistent, you can make the modifications to the variable ones in order to achieve your financial goals. If debt settlement is part of your financial journey, remember that this is a long-term commitment to your financial freedom.”
You are not alone – Jeff T., Team Lead, New Client Enrollment
“If your financial situation is worrisome, remember that you’re not alone. We see so many people that are dealing with this, and I think a lot of people feel like they’re alone. Sometimes it’s not just you, but a series of events that created your financial situation.
You have support – Kevin C., Team Lead, New Client Enrollment
“There are a lot of people that deal with debt every single day, so remember you have support. I speak with a lot of clients and they feel like they’re the only ones out there, and they’re not. Look for a solution and understand the pros and cons of programs you find.
It doesn’t hurt to look into your options. Do your research and make some phone calls to at least see what options could help you out of your situation or, hopefully, benefit your situation.
Just a little more financial advice
Whether you are considering debt settlement, a consolidation loan, or any other option, there are a few rules of thumb that can help:
- Stay current on credit card payments. Make sure you pay off your credit card balance in full every month.
- Budget income and expenses regularly. Take a look at how much money comes in each month and categorize your spending into fixed and variable expenses. This can help you manage money and keep problems from developing in the first place.
- Continue financial education. The more you seek out advice from experts, the better you can become at maintaining good financial habits.
Our employees agree that financial education and action can help you maintain a positive outlook on your finances. We manage what we monitor, so the more you focus on seeking out and acting upon sound financial advice, the stronger you become at being an advocate for your finances and your life.