Have you ever held back from asking a question? Although you really want to know the answer, you might hold back because you are afraid that your question is stupid. But when it comes to personal finances – there is no such thing as a stupid question.
In fact, by holding off on asking simple questions, you could seriously jeopardize your financial future. On Ask A Stupid Question Day, I will share the questions that I thought were too stupid to ask when I started my personal finance journey.
Let’s dive right in!
Ask A Stupid Question Day
Ask A Stupid Question Day is a holiday celebrated on September 28th in the United States. School teachers started the holiday in an effort to encourage students to ask more questions.
Although the holiday is traditionally celebrated in a classroom, you are never too old to ask questions. Asking questions is important for all aspects of life, but it is especially important in building a solid financial future.
No one is simply born with the answers to all the personal finance questions you might have along the way. Instead of guessing, it is important to seek out the answers to personal finance questions. With a little bit of knowledge, you can set yourself up for a bright financial future. Without taking the time to seek out the right answers for your financial situation, you may encounter a bumpy road ahead.
Why there aren’t any stupid questions when it comes to personal finance
When I started my own personal financial journey, I had so many questions that it was intimidating to even start asking. I often worried about whether or not my questions would be seen as silly. But I quickly realized that there is no such thing as a stupid question where finances are concerned. There are even financial advisors, like those found through The Paladin Registry, that specialize in helping you find answers. It is much better to ask the question than let it burn a hole in your brain – and potentially derail your financial future.
You can, and should, take the time to ask any questions that pop into your brain. As you start to approach your finances, you’ll encounter a litany of questions. That’s okay! If you have plenty of questions, that means that you are ready to take responsibility for your finances.
Don’t be afraid to seek out the answers to the money questions that are swirling around in your head. With more information, you will be better prepared to build a worry-free financial future.
Questions that helped me on my personal finance journey
As you first start making decisions that have financial ramifications, you will find that many questions will pop up. You’ll start wondering about things that you had truly never considered before.
I found that asking a series of basic questions over the years has helped me create a relatively secure financial position. I will share a few of the questions that have helped me over the years below.
How to set up a bank account that works with me?
If you are anything like me, then you likely opened up a bank account with a big bank to get you started. It seemed like the simplest option when I was 18 and needed a bank account to accept my direct deposited paychecks. But what I didn’t realize at the time was that the big bank that I had chosen would provide an account experience riddled with fees.
For a while, I simply accepted that fees were just a part of my banking experience. But then, I started to question my logic and look at what other banks had to offer. One financial app that I wish I had known about sooner is Chime®.* The online financial services app offers a completely no fee experience that can come in handy. 2
Chime allows you to manage your money without worrying about any fees along the way. With the help of automatic savings features, real-time alerts, and no minimum balances to hold you back, you’ll be ready to up your savings game in no time.
Instead of working against the endless stream of account fees with a bigger bank, why not look for a bank that won’t stand in the way of you reaching your financial goals?
* Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bankcorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.
2 There’s no fee for the Chime Savings Account. Cash withdrawal and Third-party fees may apply to Chime Checking Accounts. You must have a Chime Checking Account to open a Chime Savings Account.
How can I avoid taking on too much debt?
When you are starting out, then the thought of paying for everything upfront can seem overwhelming. Especially when everything from school tuition to living expenses can be covered with a variety of loans. It can be very tempting to take on loans to cover your expenses. But taking on too much debt early in life can dramatically negatively impact your financial future.
It is no secret that a heavy debt burden can put a damper on your finances for years to come. But how can you avoid taking on too much debt? Consider living as cheaply as possible when you are faced with the option of taking on more debt. Do your best to limit extra expenses if you know that you cannot afford it at the moment.
If you can’t lower your expenses, then consider picking up a side hustle to make ends meet. Or if you are looking to cover educational costs, then seek out scholarships or work-study opportunities to lower your overall costs. If you are able to avoid taking on more debt, your future self will thank you!
How can I save more money?
As you likely know, saving money is important. But you might not know how you can keep more money in your wallet. After all, life can be expensive, and it can be all too easy to feel light on savings!
Luckily, there are many ways to save more money. Although you’ll likely need to get creative, it is likely possible to squirrel away more of your income. As you build your savings, stash them somewhere safe. Specifically, a high yield savings account is one of the best places to store your savings. Not only will you enjoy the protection of FDIC insurance, but also a relatively high return on your savings compared to traditional savings accounts.
One of the best available high yield savings accounts is the CIT Savings Builder. The account provides an APY of 1.00% if you have a balance of $25,000 or deposit $100 each month. See details here. With this account, you won’t need to worry about account fees cutting into your savings. Plus, the incentive of a higher APY will encourage you to build strong saving habits each month.CIT Bank. Member FDIC.
What is my credit score and why does it matter?
As if the world of personal finance wasn’t confusing enough, you’ll eventually encounter your credit score. The three-digit number can have a big impact on your finances. But what does it even mean?
Your credit score is based on your credit history. Your credit history is a record of financial transactions that provides the details which determine your credit score. Generally, a clean report without any late payments or large outstanding balances will lead to a high credit score. With a high credit score, you can access credit opportunities more easily. For example, you could more easily obtain a mortgage with a low interest rate with a high credit score. On the flip side, a bad credit score could reflect a history of late payments or a high credit utilization rate.
Take some time to better understand how credit works today.
How can I start investing?
As you get your financial bearings, the call to invest money for your future will become stronger. The good news is that it can be fairly easy to get started investing. Even starting with a small amount of money can lead to big long term rewards.
The best place to get started is to seek out an investment platform that will allow you to work towards your goals.
If you want to learn more about the inner workings of building an investment portfolio, Public’s platform is designed to work with you beyond simply choosing your preferences. With Public, you’ll have access to helpful guidance and answers to all of your investment questions. Plus, you’ll enjoy the commission-free trading offered by Public.
Should I buy a house?
As you venture into adulthood, the question of where to live becomes more important every day. The big question is whether you should buy a place or continue renting for now. The answer to this question depends on your situation.
You’ll need to consider your current savings situation and your plans for the future. If you want to leave the area in a year or two, then renting might be easier. But if you are planning to stay for years, then owning a home might be the best economic approach.
Personally, I’ve chosen to buy a home with my husband. But only after asking many questions and listening to both sides of the debate. If you are struggling to determine the best solution, then check out MU30’s rent vs. buy calculator to help you crunch the numbers of this decision.
How can I maintain a budget and still have fun?
As you stare down your long term money goals, it can seem a bit overwhelming at first. After all, how are you supposed to have any fun while attempting to save every last penny? The answer is that you need to determine your spending priorities when creating a budget.
It is completely possible to enjoy your life and have fun while sticking to a budget. Although frugal fun will require some creativity, you can make it happen. But remember that it is important to find a balance between saving and spending. Both are important, so find a way to strike a balance that you can live with.
For me, this means allocating a substantial portion of my budget towards travel spending. But I still sock away a larger portion of my income to reach my long term financial goals. I could meet those goals sooner if I gave up my travel spending habits – but I’m not willing to sacrifice that balance.
A budgeting and savings app like Empower can help with that. Using Empower, I can set spending limits for each category in my budget. As I reach my limit, the app alerts me so that I know to cut back a little.
Best of all, after I tell Empower my savings targets, the app will automatically set a little money aside each week to help me reach my goals. And, if expenses are unusually high, Empower cuts back on what it sends to savings.*Empower is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by nbkc bank, Member FDIC.
I hope you’ve realized by now that the ‘stupid’ questions I asked about money weren’t stupid at all! As I continued to make decisions about my financial future, a curious mind has helped me seek out the best possible options for my situation.
As you continue making decisions about your personal finances, I strongly encourage you to ask all the questions that pop into your head. After all, it never hurts to ask the question – especially when the answer can help you reach your financial goals. Don’t let anything stand in your way from learning what you want to. Let the knowledge empower you to take charge of your finances and move in the direction you desire!