The crash course in personal finance you never got in school – The Globe and Mail

I roll my eyes when financial literacy experts talk about the good they could do if they were able to teach kids about the wonders of compounding and the time value of money.

That is so not going to work. There are really two branches of personal finance – one for people who “get it,” and another for people who have yet to start their journey to enlightenment. Compounding and the time value of money are important concepts, but they’re just blah-blah jargon for personal finance newbies of all ages.

For them, I suggest they enroll in the MoneySmart Bootcamp created by Globe and Mail personal finance reporter Erica Alini. This is real world stuff, starting with the basics you need to master before concepts like compounding start to mean something.

MoneySmart Bootcamp begins with ideas on getting control of your spending, then progresses to debt and borrowing, investing, housing and emergency funds. This is exactly the right order of operations for personal finance. Before investing, you have to start spending less than you earn.

Investing is the more exciting part of personal finance, even after the setbacks for stocks, bonds and cryptocurrency in 2022. People of all ages were drawn to investing in 2020 and 2021, a period when they were locked down and looking for diversion. Stocks soared, and a lot of money was made.

It was fun while it lasted. Now, we’re in a much more challenging period, with high inflation, rising interest rates and stocks lurching up and down, depending on the day. This is a time when personal finance basics are paramount. You might have all you can handle in paying your household bills without going into debt. Saving and investing may have to wait a bit.

MoneySmart Bootcamp can help you through these challenging times. As Ms. Alini writes, it’s the personal finance crash course you never got in school.

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