How Smart are YOU?

You can’t turn on a TV or your computer without hearing something with a financial overtone. From our Nation’s Capital to the tiny towns here is Kansas, we have to face serious financial decisions. “Back in the day,” as my grandmother says, it was considered rude for women to discuss finances, thus leading to men doing all the family’s fiscal planning. Not today.  Modern women are now going it alone and are even encouraged to have money aside from their spouses.

I consider myself to be an educated modern woman (as my student loans will tell you), yet evening news uses financial jargon conversationally and I have no clue what they mean. I realized while I may be smart (just ask my husband), my financial IQ is very low. Not wanting to be in the dark any more, I set out on a quest to raise my IQ. Here are some things that have helped me:

Find out what you should know: I took an online quiz and scored 8 %. Depressing, yes, but I did get ideas of things I should educate myself on such as IRA’s, 401K’s, payout ratios, etc.

Educate yourself: Many community colleges offer financial classes geared towards women. Banks are also usually willing to sit down and discuss your questions with you. Consider reading a book on certain financial matters which interest or concern you.

Listen and make mental notes: while listening to radio shows, watching TV, or talking with friends, listen to their suggestions and make mental notes of new ideas. Use these ideas as springboards for your financial knowledge, but always check them out with a legitimate financial guru.

Think beyond the short term: I am a teacher in a private school with hopes of becoming a stay-at-home mom is the near future, so retirement is not something I think of often. However, if something were to happen to my husband, I would have to go back to work. Learning about key financial components now may help you in the long run.

As with stocks, it is important to diversify yourself. (I just learned that about stocks).  Take in information from a variety of sources and apply what works for you. In the arena of finance, you can never have too much information.  While I doubt I will ever qualify for the Financial Mensa division, knowing how to educate myself and raise my level of active knowledge definitely makes me more of a modern woman.

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