In case you forgot to mark your calendar, April is Financial Literacy Month, that time of year when you’re supposed to assess how much (or how little) you know about money and finances. If you want to gauge your financial acumen, there are all sorts of tests out there to help you do so, ranging from this six-question Financial Literacy quiz from FINRA to the National Financial Education Council’s 30-question National Financial Capability Test.
Sure, having a grasp of how compound interest and inflation work and knowing how lenders calculate loan payments and make credit decisions can help you make sounder choices with your money. But I’d argue that understanding these five big-picture principles is even more crucial to reaching financial goals like having enough money for retirement.
1. Saving is a surer way to wealth than investing. Given all the attention the financial press devotes to tracking the stock market’s ups and downs, you can easily come away with the impression that savvy investing is the single most important factor in building financial security and wealth. It’s not. Investing is important, but all the investing skill in the world doesn’t amount to much unless you regularly set aside savings that you can invest.