Six personal finance tips we wish we’d learned in school

Planning for the future can feel stressful, but it doesn’t have to be that way. | Photo provided by AllSouth

Ever wish that someone had sat you down when you were younger and given you the lowdown on personal finance + how to manage your money? So do we. 

Enter: the financial pros at AllSouth. We asked AllSouth team members what they wished they’d learned in school, and today we’re sharing their answers, money hacks, and biggest tips on saving, investing + more. 

Start an emergency fund. 

“I wish I’d learned more about budgeting, saving, and investing.”


Storing away money for emergencies (think: unemployment, car repairs or medical bills) might seem like an afterthought, but you never know what tomorrow will bring. By preparing your finances for unexpected events, you can best determine how much you should be saving for a crisis.

Set a budget. 

“For years, I just spent whatever I had to spend and then wondered why I was never getting ahead. I finally learned that if I did not keep track of where my money was going, I would never make it financially. Knowing where your money is going is key to financial freedom.” 


Setting a budget is a great way to keep track of your spending, and AllSouth’s Online and Mobile Banking tools are a great way to track your spending on the go.

Have a separate savings account.

Start/open a savings account that you pay into every month as if you were paying a bill. Do not get a debit card for the account so that you are not tempted to make a withdrawal or purchase. As time goes by, increase the amount for the allotment. Before you know it, you will have saved more than you thought you could.”


Invest in your retirement. 

“My advice to young people when they get a job is to start saving for retirement. The sooner you start, the better.”


No matter the amount, saving early makes a big difference. Plus, compounding interest (the interest you earn on interest) works in your favor for both savings accounts and IRAs with direct deposit. For example, If you deposit $1,000 into an account that pays 1% interest, you’d get $10 in interest after a year, and the year after that, you’d earn 1% interest on the $1,010. 

Identify your long- and short-term savings goals. 

Know what’s important to you. Because I want to go on trips, I cut in other areas (not going out as much, keeping the car my parents gave me as long as it would run, and not going out and buying a new one). Decisions like these add up.


Establishing your long-term vs. short-term goals will give you better idea of when to save vs. spend. Even though you may really want something today, it’s probably better to save for tomorrow. 

Learn how credit works. 

“I was taught the importance of saving when I was younger, but no one ever took the time to explain how credit works. It wasn’t until I had my first job with a bank that I started to learn more about it.”


Educate yourself on how credit worksyou’ll be glad you did. And if you need to establish or rebuild credit, look into secured loans or secured credit cards.”

Looking for more financial tips? Check out AllSouth’s blog for freshly updated resources. 💸*

Poll: What area of personal finance is the most difficult for you to understand?

  • Credit 
  • Retirement
  • Investing 
  • Budgeting 

Give us your two cents here.