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Over the last few months we’ve been talking a lot about the break-up process. Specifically, the process of breaking up with Debt.
Being that April is National Financial Literacy Month, there couldn’t be a better time to take the first step in redefining your relationship with your finances!
We encourage you to review the series of blog posts we’ve featured throughout the debt breakup process — from the Debt breakup letter to Sara's breakup story. And we’ll be introducing new posts throughout the month related to creating a healthy, sustainable relationship with your money now that you’ve decided to kick Debt to the curb.
In fact, the entire month of April is going to be focused on creating a “fresh financial start” through financial literacy.
Everyone loves a blank slate — It’s a chance to start over. It’s a new beginning. It’s the ability to take all of your past mistakes and use them to plot a new — better — course.
And that’s exactly what we’ll be helping you do over the next 30 days.
In fact, you can find each step of the 30-day journey at FinancialLiteracyMonth.com.
And don’t worry, you won’t be on the journey alone! In fact, you’ll be surrounded by 11,000+ people who have all made the very same commitment to financial wellness.
Plus, we’ll be tweeting, posting and pinning every step of the way!
So what are you waiting for? Take the first step today.
Visit FinancialLiteracyMonth.com, take the pledge, and let’s create a better financial future together!
April is Financial Literacy Month, and this year we're encouraging you to share the wealth for a chance to win big!
April is Financial Literacy Month and my nonprofit organization launched a microsite in the month’s honor. On the site, there are 30 simple steps to financial freedom (one for each day of the month).
Financial Literacy Month is an opportunity for individuals to learn about financial matters such as developing a budget, understanding credit scores, and managing and saving money.
In honor of Financial Literacy Month, we created a microsite that offers 30 simple steps to financial wellness–one for each day of the month. To enrich the experience, we asked some amazing people to guest post during the month. Their dedication to financial literacy is truly inspiring! Today, Dr. Robert Duvall, President and Chief Executive Officer for the Council for Economic Education and member of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, discusses moving forward.
At the Council for Economic Education (formerly National Council on Economic Education) we envision a world in which people are empowered through economic and financial literacy to make informed and responsible choices throughout their lives as consumers, savers, investors, workers, citizens, and participants in both our national and global economies. We look at the current economic difficulties and see it as an opportunity for all of us, as a nation, to look at how we got into this situation and work towards preventing it from happening again.
The message about the future and moving forward is a message of hope; a message of responsibility, and a message of empowerment. We believe that solutions for long-term economic stability must move forward from boardrooms to classrooms. And key to moving forward positively, efficiently and effectively is economic and financial literacy.
People are not born with an understanding of personal finance and economics. Like anything else, it is learned. The problem is that, by and large, it still isn’t being taught. A Council for Economic Education survey found that only 17 states require students to take an economic course as a condition of graduation, and only seven states require students to take a personal finance course before they graduate. We can do better. The stakes of financial illiteracy are too high to ignore.
Integrating economics and personal finance into high school curriculum requires that states and schools make it a priority, and it requires additional training and resources for teachers. Yes, some states have already begun to take steps to make sure young people are financially literate, but it is not enough. A much broader and bolder commitment is necessary. Moving forward, every state should require – or at least make sure schools offer – courses in economics and personal finance for high school students.
In the 1950s, high schools began teaching drivers’ education in order to equip young people to function – safely and responsibly – in the world. If high schools in every state can teach young people to drive, surely they can teach them to be responsible consumers. In addition, when schools teach economics and personal finance we build in our young people a sense of curiosity, an ability to think critically and we empower them to function responsibly in the world and in their communities.
Being financially literate is a lifelong process. Reaching youth is critical. Educational materials are crucial. That is what the Council for Economic Education does. Our mission is to provide teachers with the educational tools they need to help students develop the real-life skills they need to succeed and ultimately be effective participants in a global economy. But a joint effort is necessary to achieve national financial literacy - no single organization or sector can achieve the goal of providing financial literacy for all. Moving forward, working together is the only viable solution. Our young people deserve no less.
Dr. Robert Fenton Duvall is the President and Chief Executive Officer for the Council for Economic Education. Duvall has become a national, and international, spokesman for the value of improving economic, financial and entrepreneurship education by making it a core component of the pre-college curriculum. In January 2008, he was appointed to the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy.
In honor of Financial Literacy Month, we created a microsite that offers 30 simple steps to financial wellness–one for each day of the month. To enrich the experience, we asked some amazing people to guest post during the month. Their dedication to financial literacy is truly inspiring! Today, the author of Finally Frugal talks about tools for success.
In cruising around the Financial Literacy Month website, I found the section entitled 'Tools for Success' to be most useful. On this particular page, there are links to all sorts of helpful spreadsheets and resources, such as:
A big part of financial literacy is taking the time to learn about personal finance, as well as being responsible for that knowledge. Since no one knocked on my door and educated me about how to pay down debt, how to refinance my house, or how to spend my money strategically, I had to go out and find the information myself. I'm only now beginning to emerge from the fog of self-induced financial ignorance, but I've never felt more stable and in-control of my finances.
Each American has the same obligation to find and absorb the information, whether it's at the public library, in the office of a financial advisor, or in the multitude of pages on the internet. Of course, with internet learning, we always have to be careful that the information we're reading is reliable.
In addition to the Financial Literacy Month website, the U.S. government's Financial Literacy and Education commission website is a wonderful resource. There, you'll find all sorts of links concerning financial planning, paying for education, home ownership, and raising financially literate kids.
In my work with college students, "but nobody told me" is never an acceptable excuse for making a mistake. I'd posit that the same holds true of people who are financially under-educated. As I mentioned, no one is going to call you up one day and offer to give you, free of charge, the information you need (and I'd certainly be wary of anyone who did call with that sort of offer!)
Instead, we should all take responsibility for ourselves and our loved ones, with the helping hand of organizations like Money Management International and, yes, even the U.S. government.
Finally Frugal is a blog written by a woman who after twenty years of blindly spending more than she brought in, decided to live below her means. With her blog, she invites you to accompany her as she works to pay off debt, increase savings, and finally find financial independence!
In honor of Financial Literacy Month, we created a microsite that offers 30 simple steps to financial wellness–one for each day of the month. To enrich the experience, we asked some amazing people to guest post during the month on a topic that is related to the day’s step. Their dedication to financial literacy is truly inspiring! Today, The Weakonomist talks about assembling a financial team.
So you're getting your finances in order, but you haven't yet mastered all aspects of financial literacy. That's okay, none of us ever do. We can make our financial lives easier though by establishing a team of trusted advisors to help out. To help make better sense of who you need and when, let's compare your financial team to a football team.
Quarterback: You are the quarterback. The quarterback is in charge of every play on the field. They decide who to throw the ball to, if they should pass it off to someone else, if they should make a run for it themselves, or perhaps throw the ball away and start over. You are in charge of your own financial destiny. You decide who gets what and when, and that decision should always be yours and yours alone.
Center: The center is the big guy who hikes the ball to the quarterback at the start of the play. Your tax advisor is your center. Before you (as the quarterback) ever see the ball on each play, it must pass through the center's legs, just like before you ever get paid you pay taxes to the government. Your tax advisor can help you with setting up the proper withholding taxes, and help you at your annual or quarterly tax meetings to optimize your returns. After the ball is hiked, the center will also help protect you from the other team trying to get you. By the same token your tax advisor will help protect you just in case the IRS or some other regulatory agency has a problem with your tax filings.
Guard: Another protector of the ball and quarterback is the guard. He lines up next to the center. The guard in your financial life is the lawyer. Your lawyer will help protect you and your assets from all the governments (and relatives) that may come after you. There are lawyers that specialize in estate planning, bankruptcy, and any other legal matters you may need to attend to. Make sure you find one that is a specialist in your area.
Running Back: Many plays the quarterback will run rely on the running back. He stands behind or beside the quarterback and can do a variety of tasks. He can block, run the ball, and go out for a pass. The versatility of the running back is akin to the versatility you can get with a financial planner. Your financial planner can help you with investments, debt management, estate planning, budgeting, and even taxes.
I recommend finding a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) as they are required to meet education, experience, and ethics requirements. If you have assets around or above $500,000 consider finding a CFP that is also a member of NAPFA; they are the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors and they only work on a fee basis, as opposed to a commissioned position.
Wide Receiver: Sometimes the line breaks through and all your guards aren't able to protect you from the overload. You've got nowhere else to turn but to look down field. You throw up a Hail Mary pass. Your ball is caught by the wide receiver! This is your credit counselor. Despite our hopes to not to rely on a credit counselor, they are there when you need them and can often get you out of the tightest spots of your finances.
Remember a team is only as good as the individual players on your side. The positions I listed above aren't everyone you may need on your team to keep your financial house in order. You want to surround yourself with friends and family that support you in this journey.
he Weakonomist fell in love with finance at an academic level and then migrated his way into personal finance. Read more on his blog Weakonomics.com.
In honor of Financial Literacy Month, we created a microsite that offers 30 simple steps to financial wellness–one for each day of the month. To enrich the experience, we asked some amazing people to guest post during the month on a topic that is related to the day’s step. Their dedication to financial literacy is truly inspiring! Today, Wise Bread blogger Julie Rains talks about the cost of credit.
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