That due date on your credit-card bill? You know you should submit your payment before it, but you rarely do. And you’ve heard from your parents, your best friend, and the financial pro you saw on a television program that creating a budget would help you better manage your money. Yet you tend to have a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach when it comes to your finances.
Outstanding money behavior — you know, maintaining a budget, regularly monitoring your online bank account, paying bills on time — are all skills and practices that are important, but you might not fully understand why (or how to do them.) That’s because, in general, many Americans significantly lack financial literacy: the knowledge and understanding of various financial matters like personal finance, investing, spending, and saving.
In fact, the Standard & Poor’s Global Financial Literacy Survey reported that even though the U.S. is the world’s largest economy, it’s #14 globally when it comes to how many American adults are financially literate (just 57%).
Low financial literacy levels can affect more than your financial wellness. It can hurt your overall livelihood. According to Forbes, 38% of U.S. households hold credit card debt, a third of Americans have no money in retirement savings, and 44% don’t have the cash on hand to cover a $400 emergency — all situations that can add a lot of stress to your plate and put you in a money hole that could be difficult to climb out of.
True financial literacy occurs when you not only understand how the basics of spending, saving, credit, and investing work, but are able to put smart money moves into practice every day until you achieve financial stability. The critical first step to making informed decisions and feeling confident about your financial future is understanding the ins and outs of personal finance, whether it’s building a budget, creating an emergency fund, investing in retirement, or saving for your children’s college.
As student debt becomes an increasingly pressing problem in the U.S., many states have begun requiring high schools to teach financial education courses. But financial literacy isn’t limited to students. No matter what stage of life you’re in, if you’re ready to take hold of your financial education, Ally’s Wallet Wise® program can help you make smart money decisions and take control of your finances.
Our Wallet Wise Budgeting course walks you through the process of building and balancing a budget. You’ll learn how to sort your expenses (fixed vs. variable vs. flexible), build an emergency fund, and stay on track with spending and saving. The course also includes links to other resources, as well as a free downloadable budget worksheet to get you off to a strong start.
Banking and Investment
In our Banking and Investment course, we walk you through all things banking-related, like questions to consider when choosing a bank, the difference between checking and savings accounts, the pros and cons of debit and credit cards, and tips on why, when, and how to invest. It also gives you access to resources like the Wallet Wise Bank Checklist to make sure you’re putting your money in the best bank account for your needs and goals.
We know credit can bring to mind a lot of questions. (“How do I apply for credit? Will checking my score hurt it more?”) That’s why we dedicated an entire Wallet Wise Credit course to helping you understand the different types of credit, the importance of good credit, and how to build yours. From cards to credit reports, our credit-focused program is an essential for anyone who wants to grow their credit confidence (and score).
Purchasing and maintaining a car is no small feat — and it can raise a lot of financial confusion and concerns. Our Wallet Wise Auto Finance course is here to help with a glossary of key terms to know before walking into a dealership, tips on insurance coverage and how to save money on it, and a monthly car payment calculator. Whether you’re buying or leasing, this program has the answers to your most pressing questions.
Ally Wallet Wise offers plenty of additional resources if you’re looking to take your financial education even further. Whether you want help to kickstart your financial goals or need direction on how to get a free credit report, there’s something for everyone.