Financial Literacy: Celebrate It Year-Round

Here's why it's worth having, no matter where you are in your personal financial journey:

Becoming financially literate might seem like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. It basically means becoming educated about your money and finances, and it’s a powerful way to help you make sound decisions for yourself and your loved ones. The more financially literate you are, the better off you’ll be when setting priorities and goals, creating a budget, managing student loans and other debt, and making smart choices about how you save and spend your money through every stage of your life.

What can you do this month to boost your financial IQ? Here are four tips to help you get started.

  1. Take control of spending and saving.
    This month, try tracking your money—what comes in, and what goes out. Then use what you learn to create a budget. The good news is that creating a plan for how you spend and save money doesn’t have to be painful. There are lots of budgeting worksheets and tools available online, many of which are free. This includes a printable worksheet from the Federal Trade Commission
  2. Say goodbye to burdensome debt.
    Personal debt is one of the biggest roadblocks to financial security. To lessen its impact on your life, pay as much over the minimum payment amount as you can each month. Be aware of extra spending, and instead, use your budget to help remind you of your priorities. For example, it might be nice to order takeout once a week or buy a new TV every other year, but only if doing so doesn’t put you behind financially. For more ideas on managing student loans and other debt, check out the Mutual of America Your Retirement Center.
  3. Become an expert at compounding.
    Whatever your age or stage of life, it’s never too early—or too late—to maximize the value of your employer-sponsored retirement plan by putting the benefit of tax-deferred compounding to work for you. Tax-deferred compounding is the process of adding the investment earnings in your account to your balance and then reinvesting them to create even more potential earnings, while deferring the payment of taxes until you withdraw your savings. The more time your money has to grow, the greater the impact tax-deferred compounding may have on your financial future. To see how valuable it can be, try the Mutual of America Retirement Savings Calculator. Withdrawals of the tax-deferred interest and any investment earnings are subject to income tax at your ordinary income tax rate at the time of withdrawal, and if made prior to age 59½, a 10% federal tax penalty.
  4. Invest in yourself.
    Learning to manage your money doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Let April be the month you begin to develop or improve your financial literacy. The Mutual of America Resource Center offers a growing library of articles, calculators and other tools to help you make the most of your finances, including your retirement savings. Sites such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and also offer resources to help you sharpen your money management skills.

To learn more about why boosting your financial literacy is one of the best investments you can make in yourself, contact your local Mutual of America representative.

Information and interactive calculators are made available to you as self-help tools for your independent use and are not intended to provide investment advice. We cannot and do not guarantee their applicability or accuracy in regard to your individual circumstances. All examples are hypothetical and are for illustrative purposes only. We encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding all personal finance issues.

You should consider the investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses of the variable annuity contract and the underlying investment funds carefully before investing. This and other information is contained in the contract prospectus or brochure and underlying funds prospectuses and summary prospectuses, which can be obtained by calling 1-800-468-3785 or visiting Read them carefully before investing.

Mutual of America's group and individual retirement products are variable annuity contracts and are suitable for long-term investing, particularly for retirement savings. The value of a variable annuity contract will fluctuate depending on the performance of the Separate Account investment options you choose. Upon redemption, you could receive more or less than the principal amount invested. A variable annuity contract provides no additional tax-deferred treatment of benefits beyond the treatment provided to any qualified retirement plan or IRA by applicable tax law. You should consider a variable annuity contract's other features before making a decision.

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