Without an understanding of basic financial concepts, how do you expect to manage your money wisely? The answer is getting educated. Financial literacy is everything because it is one of the greatest challenges people have today. With student loan debt, predatory lenders and a lack of savings for emergency situations, today is the day to change your financial future. Here are 5 kick ass strategies and a bonus 5 financial tools to make a difference today!:

Ask

If there is something you do not know about money, ask. If there is a bill you cannot pay, ask. People are afraid to have conversations about their finances but should understand resources are out there and most companies have tools or solutions to get you back on track.

Help the next generation by getting out there and obtaining the financial literacy tools you need. Honestly, how well do you understand money and finances? Resolve to get educated!

There are many ways to get the education you need, and without spending money! Check with your local city/county government to see if there are financial education classes available. Many credit unions offer free seminars on a variety of financial literacy topics. Visit your local branch today.

Know The Difference

The biggest difference between a bank and a credit union is that banks are for-profit organizations and credit unions are not-for-profit. Additionally, banks and credit unions should not be confused with check cashers and other predatory lenders. Know your options.

Do some research on the different types of financial institutions and organizations. You will find those ads that promise “fast, easy loans” are hoping to trap you in a web that could take years trying to get out. Educate yourself on interest rates and learn what the fine print really says.

Just because a short-term lender constantly advertises on TV or the radio does not mean it is the best option. Many credit unions have developed alternatives to payday lenders that help their members by establishing a savings account and educating on financial literacy.

Read more: Financial literacy takeaways – CUInsight