Paul Durso on WBTV: Financial Literacy

Paul DursoMedia, TV Appearances

Know What You Don’t Know
• It sounds simple, but a lot of Americans are overconfident and under-prepared when it comes to their finances.
• In a recent survey of Millennials, nearly 70% rated themselves as having a good grasp on finances.
• However, when they were tested, less than half were able to demonstrate a basic understanding of money management. (Source: NEFE.)
• Remember: what you don’t know can hurt you when it comes to your finances, so go ahead and ask for help!

Deal With Debt
• Credit card debt is approaching $1 trillion in America. The average household now owes $8,377 on their cards! (Source: Wallethub)
• Add to that student loan debt, mortgages and auto loans, and we are really being weighed down by debt.
• Start by formulating a plan. There are two popular methods: one focuses on the smallest balance, the other on the highest interest rate.
• Whichever plan you choose, attack your debt and make it a priority to pay it off!

Do Some Basic Math
• Saving for retirement should be one of your top financial priorities, yet more than 80% of Americans don’t know how much they will need to retire. (Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch)
• It is a complicated number to figure out because there are so many variables, including how long you’ll live.
• You can do quick calculation by estimating your final salary and then multiplying it by ten.
• That’s a good rule of thumb to get started on saving. Once you get closer to retirement, you’ll want to refine that number with the help of a financial professional.

Start Small, Build Big
• You’re not going to build your retirement savings overnight, so don’t stress over how much you can contribute right away.
• The important thing is to contribute something.
• Two-thirds of Americans aren’t putting money into their 401(k)s. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
• That’s startling to me, because if your employer offers a company match, you should contribute at least enough to get the full amount. Otherwise, you’re leaving free money on the table.
• Over time, you can increase contributions and allow your savings time to grow.

Protect Your Savings
• Young adults are ruining their parents’ retirement!
• 40% of Millennials are getting financial help from their parents, which includes $250 a month just to cover living expenses. (Source: NY Times)
• As you put money into your 401(k), remember not to touch it – whether it’s for your kids, or if you’re tempted to take out a loan for another reason.
• Look for ways to help your family that don’t involve money, like helping them write a resume or set a budget for themselves.

Q: IS THERE ONE PLACE WE SHOULD START?
• Yes- by setting up a monthly household budget and sticking to it!
• A budget is the backbone to your financial plan – it will help you know how much money you can dedicate to your goals, like paying off debt and saving for retirement.