Learn to budget and save money

Lending Tree has advice on how to handle a raise, create a budget, and start investing in retirement.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Between inflation and job changes, personal finances are a major pressure point for Americans right now. A lack of financial knowledge only adds to this stress.

A George Washington University to study found that only 16% of Americans between the ages of 22 and 41 qualified as financially competent. The same study also found that only 19% of millennials consider themselves to have in-depth knowledge of personal finance and fundamental financial concepts.

Jacob Channel is a Principal Economic Analyst at loan tree. He said there is no shame in asking questions.

“Especially when it comes to financial literacy, especially when it comes to complicated things like ‘How do you buy a house?’ What does a lender do? Specifically? What is a 401k?’ Nobody is going to laugh at you. And no one will think less of you because you don’t know the answers to these questions,” Channel said. “Just ask, worst case scenario they’ll say, ‘I don’t know. But someone somewhere will, and someone somewhere can help you.

Channel recommends that you contact your company’s human resources department, as it includes things like your benefits.

According to Lending Tree, budgeting and learning the basics of your finances can really help you succeed.

“One of the easiest things you can do if you’re trying to become more financially savvy is to simply create a budget. Sit down, make sure you really understand how much money you’re making each month, and also how much money you’re spending,” Channel said. “It can be really easy to lose track of how much money you’re spending, especially if you’re doing something that seems really small and harmless every day, you might not realize how much it adds up.”

Financially stable people begin to consider larger investments, such as buying a home. However, regardless of your financial situation, there are still some things to keep in mind if you’re shopping during the pandemic.

“If you get a mortgage now, you probably won’t pay a higher interest rate than if you took it one, six months or a year ago,” Channel said.

Channel said this was still a historically low rate. Rates in the 80s were in the double digits. If you already have a mortgage, you can expect your rates to stay the same.

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