April is Financial Literacy Month, a time to learn how to improve your financial well-being.
Sound financial principles can help you prepare for future savings goals and unexpected emergencies while providing you with flexibility to enjoy life.
According to the Federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission, the five financial principles are:
• Earn. Understand your benefits. Learn how to read your paycheck, including deductions, taxes and withholdings.
• Save and invest. Save each month and invest for retirement, your children’s education and other major items.
• Protect. Monitor your credit scores. Watch out for identity theft, fraud and scams. Build an emergency fund for unexpected events. Purchase life, health and home insurance.
• Spend. Live within your means by setting short- and long-term financial goals and compare prices, quality and necessity of purchases when shopping.
• Borrow. Remember, your credit history affects the annual percentage rate for car and home loans, so always pay your bills on time.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — a federal agency that ensures banks, lenders and other financial companies treat you fairly — offers an online tool to help evaluate your financial well-being.