Sponsored by Equitrust, Driven2Hoop is a Los Angeles Sparks community outreach effort aimed at improving the financial literacy of unprivileged youth in the Los Angeles area. At the close of this year, over 2,500 youth will have been positively impacted by our program, which was established in 2014.
The Equitrust curriculum focuses on maintaining a weekly budget, personal financial management, minimizing debt, and utilizing credit responsibly, among other topics.
The ability to make sound financial decisions and plan for retirement is often glossed over in our education system, and students from disadvantaged backgrounds are disproportionately affected as a result. Becoming financially literate means being able to take control of your life and learning to navigate the murky waters of our debt-driven society.
Here are a few steps you can take to help yourself become more financially solvent
Track Your Finances
Keeping a record of your finances is essential to improving your financial well-being. Track your income, expenditures, and savings on a spreadsheet to keep a record of how well you’re doing at managing your money. Use your spreadsheet to find unnecessary purchases you can cut down on and also plan ahead for vacations.
- Start Saving Now
Start setting aside a little bit of money each paycheck to help solidify and improve your financial future. You should be working towards having enough money set aside in an emergency fund large enough to sustain you for roughly three to six months. These funds can be used in the event of a disaster, extreme health emergency, or to keep you afloat in the event of sudden unemployment
- Pay Off Your Credit Cards
Make sure you are diligent in paying off your credit cards at the end of each month and not biting off more than you can chew with your purchases. Doing so will help demonstrate that you are not only capable of being responsible with credit, but also help your credit score. Your credit score is often used an an evaluation tool anytime you want to take out a loan, and can affect how much you pay on insurance each year.
- Attack Your Debt (School Loans, Car Payments, etc.)
Unpaid debt is a significant source of anxiety for many Americans, largely because it continues to grow the longer it goes unpaid. Focus on high-interest, private loans first, and try paying more than the monthly minimum in order to go debt-free sooner. Consider charting out your debt to see how long it will take you to completely pay it off, and explore different payment approaches.
Be savings savvy! Be Driven2Hoop!
Youth Gifting Alert: Are you a financially-minded company who is interested in donating in-kind products to our youth gift bag drive? Get in touch with Los Angeles Sparks Community Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org to make a difference today.