MADISON, Wis. (3/3/08)—This week is the 10th annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), with organizers promoting the theme of financial literacy as a sound investment in your future. These questions are pertinent to all ages:
* Do I get a good grade when it comes to the financial facts of life? If yes, you make smart decisions when shopping for a mortgage or other loan, reconciling statements, choosing retirement plans, comparing insurance policies and even when paying for everyday purchases. If you don’t get an “A” when it comes to the financial facts of life, you may be wasting money on expensive alternatives, paying for services you don’t need or want, or making yourself vulnerable to identity theft or other forms of fraud. * How can I boost my financial IQ? The Federal Trade Commission recommends you visit consumer.gov/ncpw and click “consumer info.” You’ll find an array of resources to help you make well-informed decisions--saving for an emergency or unplanned expense, investing for your retirement, and everything between. Your credit union is another solid resource for personal finance education. * What’s my best line of defense? Educate yourself. Take time to develop a spending plan, learn how to manage your money wisely, shop around for everything from purchases to insurance policies, and know the signs of a rip-off.
Current economic woes require some belt-tightening and a lot of financial finesse. Make smart decisions now, and you’ll have a solid financial foundation in the coming months and years.