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Financial Literacy Month: How to handle your finances

TUCSON – April is Financial Literacy Month, it is meant to teach Americans how to maintain healthy financial habits.

According to a report from the Federal Reserve Board, almost half of all Americans do not have enough cash to cover a $400 emergency.

“More and more families are struggling with credit card debt, struggling with the idea of retirement, struggling with the idea of healthcare and all of these different subjects,” said Robert Roman, Certified Financial Educator.

Roman says he sees a lot more people struggling financially these days.

“Most people spend the money before it comes in, they spend their tax return before it comes in, and I think again because they lack a basic understanding of how money works,” Roman said.

He says financial literacy is something most Americans do not focus on until they are in debt or struggling.

The University of Arizona is working to educate high school students on how money works through a program called Take Charge Cats through the Take Charge America Institute.

“It’s a time when students are often not receiving a lot of information about finances and it’s usually an intervention point where you can start getting them thinking about making wise financial decisions so that they don’t make big mistakes in their future,” said Victoria Ligon, Take Charge America Institute Program Manager.

Ligon also teaches finance at UA. She says college is a good time to get on top of finances before debt piles up.

“The most concrete and helpful advice is to start thinking about spending less than you earn, so really keeping tabs on what you’re earning and paying attention to what you’re spending so that you’re never exceeding that amount,” Ligon says.

Roman says it starts with having a clear goal. He says saving $5 a day makes a big difference in getting out of debt quickly.

“We’ve seen some of the tremendous benefits of becoming debt-free and really understanding everybody can do that, everybody can have a plan to do that,” Roman said.

Roman offers free financial workshops at World Financial Group every Tuesday and Saturday. Call (520) 647-2665 for more information.

Associated Press

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