Financial Literacy

From how they learn to what they want to learn about, everyone has a different relationship with money. Use this guide to become an educated investor in the ever-evolving financial markets.

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Letter from The Editor

Caleb Silver Editor-in-Chief, Investopedia

April is National Financial Literacy Month, but it’s our mission here at Investopedia every month. We’re grateful to reach more than 20 million monthly readers from around the world who visit our site, social media channels, newsletters, and podcasts to learn about finance and investing. 

However, millions of people still need financial literacy and guidance, but don’t have easy access to it online, in schools, or in their communities. It’s our goal to reach them. 

Finance and investing are also changing rapidly, thanks to the adoption of cryptocurrencies, decentralized finance, commission-free trading, and alternative forms of investing. These changes are creating pathways for people at nearly every income level to participate and grow their wealth, if they know how to utilize these tools. While technology has helped open doors, more education about these new platforms and assets is required—and that’s what Investopedia does best.

To help close those gaps, we’re committed to extending our reach and resources to underserved communities who have traditionally been closed out of the financial services and information industries. We have created new guides to support today’s investing environment, translated key resources into Spanish, and produced how-to videos for visual learners. Soon, we will also host live events with our partners Project Come Up and Wall Street Bound to connect young people with the knowledge they need most.

In our updated financial literacy section on Investopedia, you’ll find resources to help you become an engaged and educated investor in the ever-evolving financial markets. You’ll also find resources to share with people in your family and community to help support their financial journeys. 

We wish you all a Happy Financial Literacy Month, year—and future.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How much should I save for retirement?

    The amount you need to retire will vary depending on such factors as the income you have now, your age, the age you hope to retire at, and the lifestyle you want in retirement. Most experts recommend your retirement income to be about 80% of your final, pre-retirement annual income. This is a good jumping off point but the amount you save will vary based on your circumstances.

  • How can I invest in cryptocurrency?

    To start investing in cryptocurrency, you first need to open an account with the brokerage firm or cryptocurrency exchange of your choosing. Then, fund your account with a currency like U.S. dollars. Once you decide which cryptocurrency you wish to buy, you can follow the steps required by the exchange to place a buy order. Once the purchase is made, you must store your crypto in a digital wallet.

  • What is an NFT?

    Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are unique digital assets that can represent tangible and intangible goods, such as a piece of art, a song, or even a Tweet. Each NFT is individually recorded and authenticated through a public blockchain, much like a cryptocurrency transaction. This enables it to be bought, sold, or traded. Unlike crypto, NFTs are distinctive, one-of-a-kind goods.

  • How can you invest in NFTs?

    To invest in an NFT, you can browse major NFT marketplaces, such as OpenSea, and pick the NFT you want to buy. Next, establish a cryptocurrency wallet and fund it with fiat money. Once your wallet is connected to the marketplace, you can purchase an NFT. The accepted currency for buying an NFT is typically the cryptocurrency corresponding to the blockchain (like Ethereum) that supports the NFT.

  • How safe are digital wallets?

    There are many layers of security for digital wallet transactions, as they use encryption, tokenization, and authentication to protect your information on your smartphone or computer. While safe, it’s important to take extra precautions when using a digital wallet. This can include enabling a passcode, knowing the merchant you’re purchasing from, or installing facial recognition on your phone.

  • What are capital gains taxes?

    The capital gains tax is a fee you pay on profit made from selling certain types of assets, like stock or bonds. A capital gain is the total sale price of an asset minus the original amount you bought it for, and there are two types: short-term and long-term. Short-term capital gains occur when you've owned an asset for one year or less and are taxed at a higher rate than long-term capital gains.

Key Terms
Frequently Asked Questions
  • What’s the best way to start saving money?

    One of the best ways to start saving money is by setting a savings goal—whether it be short- or long-term—and paying yourself first. Paying yourself first just means that, before each pay period from work, commit to putting some funds in a savings account. Automating these savings is a great way to ensure a certain amount of money is put toward your financial goals regularly. 

  • How long does it take to improve my credit score?

    There is no set amount of time it can take to improve a credit score. Your credit report is updated automatically when lenders share new account information to the nationwide credit bureaus. This can happen once a month or every 45 days, but it will depend on the lender. You’re most likely to see a score improvement if you pay your bills on time, pay down any outstanding balances, and avoid debt.

  • When will Social Security run out?

    The Social Security Administration (SSA) estimates that combined asset reserves of the OASI and DI Trust Funds will be exhausted in 2034. At that time (if nothing changes), the continuing tax income will be able to pay only 78% of the scheduled benefits. To prevent this from happening, the government may raise the full retirement age, increase payroll tax rates, or adopt new tax reforms.

  • How do you pay off debt in collections?

    To pay off debt in collections, confirm the debt is yours, check local statute of limitations, and know your rights. Decide how much you can afford to pay and set up a payment plan. Document everything. Paying a collection removes the debt, takes away certain tax liabilities, and updates your credit report. Note, according to FICO, there’s no guarantee that your credit score will improve.

  • Where can you get free financial advice?

    Many county and state governments, including New York City, offer financial services like free, one-on-one guidance from professionals. Other organizations you can turn to include the Financial Planning Association, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, and The Foundation for Financial Planning; however, qualifications may vary depending on the guidance you are looking for.

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