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Financial Literacy

College Success by OpenStax

  • The following content is derived from the College Success Textbook by OpenStax and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0.
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How financially literate are you?


In this chapter, you will learn to reach your personal life goals by implementing financial planning and strategies to protect yourself, manage your money today, and put yourself in a better position for tomorrow. How you act today impacts your tomorrow.

By the end of this chapter, you should be able to do the following:

  1. Align your personal and financial goals through smart financial planning.
  2. Create a saving and spending plan and track your performance.
  3. Plan for emergencies.
  4. Identify best practices and risks associated with credit cards and other debt.
  5. Determine the best opportunities for you to finance your college education.
  6. Articulate specific ways to secure your identity and accounts.

Personal Financial Planning

Questions to consider:

  • What simple steps do I take to create a financial plan?
  • How do I use financial planning in everyday life?
  • How is the financial planning process implemented for every purchase?
  • If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

Savings, Expenses, and Budgeting

Questions to consider:

  • How is the flow of money best measured?
  • How do I keep things balanced?
  • “Do not save what is left after spending; instead spend what is left after saving.”  —Warren Buffett

Banking and Emergency Funds

Questions to consider:

  • How do I plan appropriately for a financial emergency?
  • What do I need to keep in mind when it comes to the banking system?

Credit Cards and Other Debt

Questions to consider:

  • What do I need to know about student loans?
  • How dangerous is debt?
  • What should I think about when getting and using a credit card?

Education Debt: Paying for College

Questions to consider:

  • What choices should you consider when taking on student debt?
  • How do you match debt to postgraduate income?
  • What types of financial aid are available?
  • How do you apply for financial aid?
  • What are the best repayment strategies?

Defending Against Attack: Securing Your Identity and Accounts

Questions to consider:

  • How should you manage passwords and online security?
  • What’s the best way to deal with identity theft?
  • How can you get help and avoid scams?