– Kelley Long, CPA/PFS member of the AICPA Consumer Financial Education Advocates

PLAN AHEAD & READ THE FINE PRINT

“When buying a car, it is important to remember that, regardless of any attachment you may have to a brand or model, you are incurring a significant financial obligation that you will have to pay back over time. Before agreeing to any financing arrangement, read the fine print to make sure you understand exactly what you are getting into and make sure it fits into your overall budget. Lastly, if there are viable public transportation options in your local area, it might make sense to explore those as you evaluate your transportation or automobile needs.”

– Dr. Sean Stein Smith, CPA member of the AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission

HAVE A BACKUP PLAN

“What’s on your emergency preparedness checklist? If you’re like most people, it includes water, batteries, a first-aid kit and an emergency contact list. What about the money you’ll need to deal with the situation? Disasters often strike quickly and without warning. Plan ahead, by setting up a separate account to build a ‘rainy day’ fund. Set a reasonable goal and start small, setting aside a manageable portion of each paycheck. Watch the fund grow, and when you reach your initial goal, you can decide whether a larger amount would give you more peace of mind. Most importantly, make a mental note of what the money can be used for (storm damage, illness, unemployment, etc.), and don’t dip into the fund for any other reason.”

– Margaret Poster, CPA member of the AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

“When it comes to taking out a student loan, don’t take out more than you can reasonably expect to earn in your first year in the field of your major. Make sure you first exhaust every available source of ‘free’ money before getting any type of student loan. Meet with a financial advisor at school to discuss available scholarships and also look for scholarships online. Finally, make sure you are aware of the difference in pay-off options between Federal and private student loans.”

– Tracie Miller-Nobles, CPA member of the AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission

The AICPA’s 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy Program is a nation-wide, volunteer grass-roots effort to help Americans develop a better understanding of money management and take control of their financial lives.

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