There's a month to promote financial literacy?

I certainly hope that this focused effort in the month of April be become more Financially Literate is not lost with all the other declarations of National Something Month. Do we really need a month to remind people to learn more about money management, budgeting, credit and savings? We only need to look not just at the stock market but at the almost non existent saving rate, the low participation on 401K plans and the amount of credit card debt being carried by families, to know that we need to invest in personal financial knowledge. Yes, yes we do need this month. That effort started in 2000 when the Jump $tart Coalition declared April as Financial Literacy Month. Every person that is spending money needs to focus on their personal finances. Parents need to set good examples for their children. Over 58% of students surveyed report they learned their personal finance and money management from their parents. Only seven states have any requirements to teach personal finances. Money is getting harder to earn, prices are increasing for most of the basic consumer goods, insurance in many cases, is not optional and investments are more complex. The more you know about personal finances, the better you can make your personal choices when spending your hard earned money. You come to understand that you are making choices and decisions about your funds. You realize that credit is a tool to purchase Durables and you use cash to purchase consumables. You learn that credit is not an additional income to be used to expand your purchase of consumer goods. Resources are available at every turn. From interactive games, songs, books by known and unknown authors, materials from companies and banks, non profits and governmental agencies. Start today, use any number of resources, and focus on just one segment of personal finance. I challenge you to make the investment in your knowledge of your personal finances. Only 15 minutes per day will have a return for you, your family, your creditors and your wallet.

Cathy Williams is a former writer for MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.