Financial literacy is an important part of everybody’s lives. It helps us make decisions involving everything from the most basic purchases to major investments.
Despite financial literacy being such an essential skill, statistics show that 63% of Americans are financially illiterate. That means that most Americans can’t provide answers to basic questions involving debt and credit, savings or investing leaving them prone to fall into financial pitfalls that can have devastating effects.
Fortunately, steps are being taken to improve financial literacy in America. For example, in 2003, the United States Senate designated the month of April as Youth Financial Literacy Day which morphed into Financial Literacy Day in 2004.
Find out more about Financial Literacy Month, its importance and what you can do to improve financial literacy in your community.
The History of Financial Literacy Month
The origins of Financial Literacy Month can be traced back to the year 2000 when The National Endowment for Financial Education introduced Youth Financial Literacy Day. The event was eventually turned over to the Jumpstart Coalition, an organization committed to advancing the financial literacy of youth.
Once the event was in Jumpstart Coalition’s hands, the organization took measures to make sure it would not focus on one organization or event but rather promote financial literacy as a whole. The coalition also worked with its 150 or so partners to expand the event to a month.
In 2003, the United States Senate designated April as Financial Literacy for Youth Month. In 2004, the Senate passed Resolution 316 which recognized April as National Financial Literacy Month.
In 2005, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill calling on the Federal Government as well as schools, nonprofits and educations institutions to support the month with relevant activities and programs.
In 2006, the Financial Literacy and Education Commission published a report called Taking Ownership of the Future: The National Strategy for Financial Literacy. The report outlined outreach and educations goals aimed to promote financial literacy in America.
Financial Literacy Today
Today Financial Literacy Month is still going strong. The Jumpstart Coalition observes the month with an Awards Dinner in Washington, DC that recognizes leadership and outstanding achievements in the effort to advance financial literacy of students.
Jumpstart also promotes Financial Literacy on Capitol Hill or Hill Day. This is an event that attracts hundred of people from all over the country. It offers a buffet lunch, speeches and an exhibit fair featuring more than 50 Jumpstart Coalition Partners and other key contributors in the financial literacy field. The event is free and open to the public.
The Council for Economic Education is also active in Financial Literacy Day. They have launched social media campaigns such as #mysavingsstory. For this event, various high-profile personalities and entrepreneurs were enlisted to share videos on social media to inspire kids to take control of their financial lives.
CEE also provides a Professional Development Activities by State page where individuals can find workshops that educate participants on financial literacy.
Parents and children can observe Financial Literacy Month in their households by discussing financial matters together to learn more about investing, saving, debt, loans and potential pitfalls that may arise as kids become more financially independent. You can look forward to April as a month when you begin setting aside money for college, a major investment or just to use for a rainy day.
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The Importance of Financial Literacy Month
Financial illiteracy is a plague that has reached epidemic levels. Fortunately, moves are being made to provide educational resources that could minimize and even eliminate financial illiteracy in the coming years. Financial Literacy Month is a way to raise awareness on the importance of financial literacy inspiring organizations to provide workshops and host events that highlight the cause.
This April, people should feel motivated to work with their children, seek out a workshop and take steps in their personal lives that will give them a better handle on their finances. What will you be doing to observe Financial Literacy Month this year?