Tax time is good time to assess finances
April is recognized as Financial Literacy Month in the U.S., and tax season can serve as a springboard for financial planning.
“A whole month gives us a chance to think about our money in different ways and think about what actions we might take to use it wisely,” Kansas State University family resource specialist Elizabeth Kiss said.
The federal government’s Financial Education and Literacy Commission promotes five principles for Americans to keep in mind as they make day-to-day decisions about money and plan financial goals. The principles include:
Make the most of what you earn by understanding pay and benefits, Kiss said.
“We can talk about vacation pay or personal days off,” Kiss said. “If you’re not using those, that’s a benefit you’re leaving on the table and you’re not getting the rest and leisure that you’re eligible for.”
Save and invest
“It’s never too early to start saving for future goals,” Kiss said.
She recommends that retirement accounts should be routinely reviewed to make sure they are on track to meet the saver’s goals.
Kiss recommends having emergency savings and insurance plans to provide adequate coverage for property.
Be sure to get good value for purchases, Kiss said. Shop around and compare, especially on big purchases.
“We might make choices on some things we’re going to splurge on, and some things we’re going to be more frugal on — and that’s totally all right,” Kiss said. “It’s about balance.”
“Most of us have to borrow money to buy a house or other large purchase at some point,” Kiss said.
Borrowing money and paying back loans helps build credit, but borrowing money comes at a price — paying interest.
“Everybody will manage their money differently, and these are principles — they’re not hard and fast rules,” Kiss said. “We can’t always stick to these principles, depending on our circumstances.”
Kiss said parents should consider discussing family financial strategies with children at appropriate ages.
Last modified April 12, 2023