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TheStreet Open House

How to Manage Your Finances During Each Stage of Life

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- April is Financial Literacy Month. As you await your tax refund, this is a good reminder to review your financial health and make the necessary changes in the way you manage your money.

Every household is affected directly by finances, no matter how much money its members make. Often, it is worries over finances.


According to the 2013 Financial Literacy Survey sponsored by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 77% of respondents admitted to having financial worries. In addition, 57% of Americans indicated worry over a lack of savings and 43% worry about not having enough "rainy day" savings for an emergency; 38% are concerned about retiring without having enough money set aside.

Saving money is a concern for the majority of Americans, but 40% of adults in the United States gave themselves a grade of C, D or F on their knowledge of personal finance. The majority feel they could benefit from additional advice and answers to everyday financial questions from a professional.

Here are financial management tips for each stage of your life:

Teenagers

Start saving now. Teenagers get money for birthdays, allowance and jobs. At this early age, they should develop the habit of putting money into a savings or investment account, even collecting loose change to add to this. Over time, small sums grow with interest.

Make a budget. Budgeting is important, even for teenagers. This is the time for them to start paying for entertainment, clothing and cellphone bills. They should keep a list of every expense, no matter how small, so they know where their money goes. This will make them think twice about the importance of each purchase.

Young adults

Young adults are carrying less debt than before the start of the 2008 recession, primarily because they own fewer major assets, according to recent analysis from the Pew Research Center. The share of younger households with debt of any kind dropped to 78%, the lowest level since the government began collecting this data 30 years ago. The share of young adults with credit card debt dropped to 39% in 2010 from 48% in 2007. Debt from student loans was the only major type of debt to increase. It accounted for 15% of the total debt for young adults in 2010, up from 9% in 2007.

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