As we all know, April is National Financial Literacy Month...oh, wait, you did not know that already? Well, now you can add it onto the list of things you associate with April alongside: spring; April Fools’ Day; the expression, “April Showers Bring May Flowers”; and (prepare to break out into a cold sweat and watch your anxiety levels rise) filing taxes. April was granted the honor of being National Financial Literacy Month back in 2003. It is the perfect time to take steps toward improving your money management skills and to help support financial literacy education. The fact that you are reading this blog article shows you are already getting a head start.
You are never too old or too young to continue/start learning about financial literacy. There are so many different ways to learn about and teach it. When I was a child, my parents got a Caboodles lock box in which I had to keep my allowance. In order to add or remove money from this box, I had to use a fake check book to write deposits and checks, and record all my “transactions”. Now, there is the option of an actual youth savings account, which many financial institutions offer. These provide children with a hands-on learn-through-experience approach. Nevertheless, my parents’ makeshift system did effectively instill in me the value of tracking my income, expenses, and budgeting. I truly believe it is a reason why I understand the importance of financial responsibility. Plus, my purple Caboodles lock box was pretty styling!
There is also a plethora of great resources all within the reach of a Google search that can provide educational tools and information. One website is dedicated entirely to National Financial Literacy Month, to the point that the website itself is actually called Financial Literacy Month. It offers “30 Steps to Financial Wellness” as a basic guide to help you get on top of your personal finances. You can also attend local financial literacy events and programs. Take for example, Money Smart Week, a financial literacy public awareness program launched in 2002 by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. They partner with organizations to help bring Money Smart Week events across the country every year for one week during April. Their 2017 events will take place from April 22nd- April 29th. Visit their website to look up programs near you, including the Alliant Credit Union Foundation’s event (click here for more information). You can check our “Upcoming Events” section on our Homepage for additional details as well.
Not only is April an opportune month to educate yourself about financial literacy; it is an ideal time to consider sharing your financial knowledge with others as well. Parents, guardians and teachers can find lots of great interactive, educational content to help teach their children. The TV show, Biz Kid$ provides children with a good basic understanding of money management, not to mention they happen to be entertaining as well. Check your local PBS station’s listings for broadcasting times; or, you can find Biz Kid$ videos, games and lesson plans online. You can also go to our Kids & Money page for Biz Kid$ video clips and links to various online games, all geared for teaching valuable financial skills. The website Jump$tart offers educational material for children to learn about finances and the economy. Their lesson plans can be used in either the classroom or at home. There are also a great number of volunteer opportunities in which you can give your time to advocate for and teach financial literacy. National programs like Operation HOPE and Junior Achievement are constantly seeking more volunteers to serve as teachers. If you are an organization looking for ways to give back to your community, you too can participate in National Financial Literacy Month. Consider becoming a partner of the aforementioned Money Smart Week to support an event or host your own.
However you decide to learn about, promote or teach financial literacy, you can find something that suits your needs best. All that matters is that you start somewhere and you keep up the good work. From all of us at the Alliant Credit Union Foundation, Happy National Financial Literacy Month everyone!