You probably didn't learn a lot of financial management skills in school, and that's okay. You didn't need to know then how to shop for a mortgage, so it would have been a bit pointless. Financial rules and regulations change all the time too. But there are some internal qualities you can hone to get to grips with your financial sitch: Skepticism Think critically about the advertising, offers and advice that bombard them you every day. Look beyond surfaces to determine what’s really being sold to you, and why. “We need to ask, ‘What is the motivation of the entity that’s giving me this information?’” says Josh Golin, executive director of the advocacy group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. Some people worry that thinking this way might end up fostering distrust, inaction and negative thinking. How to start investing in the stock market “Not all marketing is deception and not all advisers are people only eager to take your money,” says financial literacy expert Annamaria Lusardi, economics professor at the George Washington University School of Business. Others, including the nonprofit financial literacy advocate Foolproof Foundation, say healthy skepticism is empowering, enabling you to make your own well-informed decisions, rather than being paralysed by indecision. Golin says you need to bear in mind that people and companies are self interested. When you're making financial decisions, remind yourself that what you are seeing, hearing and reading is most often intended to persuade you to interact with that person or company, to their financial gain. Discernment Research and comparison shopping are skills like any other that need to be learned — and many adults don’t have them, says financial literacy expert and Rutgers University professor Barbara O’Neill. O’Neill emphasises the “rule of three” in her financial literacy courses. O’Neill has students research three credit card offers, for example, comparing the interest rates, penalty rates, fees and rewards for each, and evaluating which might be best for their particular situation. The exercise gives you practice in comparison shopping, but also gives you a handy rule of thumb for other important decisions. Whether they’re hiring a plumber or buying a car, you need to check at least three different sources, O’Neill says. Planning Being able to anticipate setbacks and challenges is as important as setting goals. People who plan ahead for large, irregular expenses are 10 times as likely to be financially healthy as those who don’t, according to a 2015 study by the Centre for Financial Services Innovation, a nonprofit that promotes financial health. A beginner's guide to cryptocurrency Financial literacy education often focuses on goal-based planning, such as budgeting for retirement or a down payment, or saving a set amount for emergencies, notes John Thompson, CFSI chief programme officer. That’s important, he says, but perhaps not as relevant to early-stage workers as building financial flexibility into their lives. It's important to have access to lower-cost lines of credit, such as a credit card with a reasonable interest rate, in addition to savings. Too often cash-strapped young people turn to payday lenders and other high-cost credit because they haven’t planned for the unexpected, Thompson says. “You want to make sure you have access to the tools and products you need before a problem presents itself,” Thompson says. “When you have to act immediately, your options are fewer.” Saving People who save regularly have better financial health, the CFSI study found. The act of saving is more important than the amounts, Thompson says. “A few hundred dollars can really make a difference,” he says. Regular doesn’t necessarily mean automatic. Yes, people who automate their savings, through paycheque contributions or recurring transfers from their usual bank accounts, do tend to save more. But automation requires relatively stable finances, something not everyone have, O’Neill points out. “People with volatile incomes can’t do anything automatically,” O’Neill says. “They need the flexibility to juggle.” Some startups are betting that smarter apps can help, either by helping people save or invest small amounts (Digit and Acorns are examples) or by smoothing out incomes using savings and payday advances (Even). You can do something similar by tracking the ups and downs of your income, and saving when you have surpluses. “When you have the peaks, that’s when you save,” O’Neill says. This article was curated by Young Post .