November is financial literacy month and a local seminar aims to help people to manage their money more effectively.
Most people start with a piggy bank and then graduate to an actual bank.
But it’s not as simple as just opening a savings account.
A group of local money experts are holding a financial literacy seminar on Nov. 12 at the Alt Hotel in St. John’s. Experts will share tips from budgeting to debt management.
The seminar is open to everyone. More information can be found online.
Jennifer Anderson, the organizer of the event, says one of the goals of the seminar is to help people secure financial independence.
“I would like them to find ways from the expert on how to better use their money,” said Anderson.
Lauren Holwell, a senior credit counsellor, says understanding and having a good credit score is important.
“Having a good credit score can help you a lot, even (with) something like renting an apartment,” she said. “You want to have (a score of) at least 650 but it’s much better to have it in the 700s.”
The biggest thing in building up your credit score is – do not miss any payments, she says, pay at least the minimum payment on or before the due date.
Another tip is to keep within 30 per cent or less credit utilization Holwell says. For example, if you have $1,000 credit limit, use only $300.
“When you use more than 30 per cent of your available credit, you’re actually hurting your credit score,” said Holwell.
Education plays a significant role in improving financial literacy, she says, and not many people have a good understanding about money matters.
“We’re not really taught in school how to manage money, how to build savings, how to invest …,” she said.
The younger you can learn about the basic concepts of money, says Holwell, the sooner you can plan for the future.
There are resources available online such as the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, which can help people learn more about personal finances.
“The more you know about personal finance, the better decision that you can make in managing your money,” she said.
Krista Hynes is a certified financial planner and one of the speakers at the seminar.
It is important to control your cash flow, says Hynes, sometimes people do not even know what they spend their money on.
She suggests people use apps such as Mint which can help with tracking expenses.
It is about perspective when it comes to budgeting, says Hynes.
“It’s not necessarily about preventing yourself from having something,” Hynes said. “It’s about understanding what you have and what works best for you.”
Even starting with a small amount can build wealth over time, says Hynes.
“Save what you can, when you can, and that really makes a bigger impact.”