April is National Financial Literacy Month. Why do we dedicate this calendar page to highlighting financial skills and education? The tax deadline? Sound financial decisions are important all year long, but most Americans never learned how to manage money or save for goals, so financial security is a bigger challenge than it needs to be.
Even if you can handle the math involved — and calculators can help if you can't — things get complicated when making large (often emotional) financial decisions. Some of the most common pitfalls are described below. If you recognize any of them, you're not alone. The good news is that you have an opportunity to improve your finances and save more money.
An emergency fund is essential because you need to absorb life's surprises without making things worse. Without a stash of cash, you'll have to take...