3 PRACTICAL IDEAS FOR TAKING ADVANTAGE OF FINANCIAL LITERACY MONTH
April is here! Depending where you live, April might bring showers to grow May flowers.
While April may not be the rainy season in all states and territories, April is perennially Financial Literacy Month in the US. With the support of the National Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy and its state affiliates around the country, Financial Literacy Month has grown to involve financial institutions, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools and interested individuals.
Money Fit by DRS whole-heartedly supports financial literacy month while also encouraging our partners, citizens and clients to promote financial wellness year round.
3 STEPS TO TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF FINANCIAL LITERACY MONTH
Connect financial education to the disciplining of your child
Make financial literacy the topic of your book club
Ask and research one financial question a day
If you have a teen or tween-aged child at home who requires a bit of extra discipline for whatever reason, turn their grounding into an opportunity to expand their financial literacy. Require him or her to show you a certificate of completion from a free, online financial education program such as those available at www.MoneyFit.org/academy or before lifting the grounding. It just might be the most beneficial 30 minutes of their disciplined life.
If you participate in a book club, consider adding a personal finance book to the reading list. Of course, we like our own Everyday Money for Everyday People book (Christensen, 2014), but other good reads include The Next Millionaire Next Door (Stanley & Fallow, 2018), The Difference (Chatzky, 2009) and, if you are feeling particularly ambitious, A Framework for Understanding Poverty (2018, Payne).
Finally, ask and research a personal finance question each day. A simple browser search of “Personal Finance Question of the Day” will yield many options from which to choose, many with corresponding answers or research opportunities. Here’s one to start you off:
Which is the best way to accelerate your debt repayment, the snowball, avalanche or landslide method?
STATE FINANCIAL LITERACY EVENTS
Financial literacy month events vary dramatically on the state level. Many states launch the month with a proclamation signing by the governor or his or her representative. These are typically free events at the state capitol and would be a wonderful part of any civics lesson for young people. Some states hold special conferences while participating organizations in other states host educational events and programs.
For example, in Idaho, the Idaho Financial Literacy Coalition (Jump$tart’s state chapter) promotes a piggy bank beauty contest for elementary school students between third and sixth grade.
PARTICIPATING FINANCIAL LITERACY MONTH ORGANIZATIONS
Banks, credit unions, Jump$tart Coalition members, nonprofit credit counseling agencies, colleges, county extension offices, and many other organizations offer free personal finance courses throughout the month of April. Many of these programs are facilitated in the community while others are provided at the organization’s home office. Still others, like those available through Money Fit by DRS, are available 24/7 online at no cost.
WHY FINANCIAL LITERACY MATTERS
Personal finance remains the number one topic of arguments within a marriage.
Parents rank teaching financial responsibility to their children near the top of their wish list.
Only a handful of states require high school students to take a personal finance course before graduation.
Poor financial literacy leads to poor decision-making which leads to poor behavior which limits the household’s ability to reach its financial goals.
Whatever the reason you choose, take advantage of the opportunities this year to get involved in the financial literacy and capability movement. Check with your state’s Jump$tart coalition for activities available in your area. You can also contact your state’s department of finance, banking, or financial institutions, since many keep a list of financial education activities and events happening in April.
GET INVOLVED WITH THE FINANCIAL LITERACY MONTH
Finally, if you would like to get involved with Financial Literacy Month as a volunteer, contact your state Jump$tart Coalition or give us a call at Money Fit by DRS. We would be happy to connect you with like-minded individuals and organizations promoting personal financial responsibility across the country.