By DEB SULLIVAN
On the Shelves
Simply put, smart money management revolves around spending less than you make and using what you do have wisely. So how exactly do you do that? How do you figure out things like how much house you can afford, what college is going to cost, and how to plan financially for buying a car?
The new “Financial Literacy” resource on yorklibraries.org provides tools and information that can help.
It is an award-winning database created by ROSENdigital that is free to use with a York County Libraries card. The addition of this database comes via grant funding from FINRA Investor Education Foundation through SmartInvesting@yourlibrary, a partnership with the American Library Association.
It is the final piece of a nearly $100,000 grant that enabled York County Libraries to provide unbiased financial literacy education to students and their parents at area schools and libraries through the “Right On the Money” (ROTM) and “Money School” programs over the last 18 months. This initiative followed a 12-month grant that launched the ROTM program almost three years ago.
The “Financial Literacy” database, although originally created for students in grades 7 through 12, has extensive content and tools that are applicable to a variety of life stages and ages. It is easy to navigate and offers interactive components such as quizzes, videos and calculators. Enter your numerical information in one of the calculators, and you get a financial snapshot to guide you in your saving, spending and planning.
Let’s say you have a teenager who is working at his or her first job and wants to save for a car (while of course still doing fun activities with friends like going to the movies). The basic budget quiz in the database is actually a calculator that introduces concepts like income and expenses, and correlates to articles that explain the basics of money management.
As a next step, the auto loan repayment calculator is very useful to a teen (or adult!) in figuring out the cost of buying a car. It provides guidance for what percentage of an income car payments should be and opens the door to the conversation of adding insurance, gas and repair costs to the overall expense picture of owning a car.
For those getting ready for college or getting ready to pay loans back, there is a calculator that breaks down the anticipated costs of going to school at a private, public or out-of-state university, and then one that breaks down how much payments will be after graduation. Articles on applying for grants and loans complement the financial tools.
One story highlighted a teenager who got creative when seeking funds for school. She entered and won a national recipe contest that netted her $35,000 toward her college education. The idea presented there is that students can look around for opportunities that will help diminish their accumulation of educational debt. And for adults just starting out on their own, the database explores job hunting and interviewing, the basics of renting an apartment, and how to build credit.
And again I go back to the calculators, as there is one which can help you figure out how much house you can afford; certainly a useful tool at any age.
There are articles about being a smart consumer, how to spend wisely and even how saving even $50 a month can multiply over a 20-year span.
This is one resource that is worth exploring: Check it out at www.yorklibraries.org.