April is Financial Literacy Month, and it's an excellent opportunity to look at your own financial health and learn how to improve it. There are educational webinars, events, and the Our Money Matters platform, all of which are designed to help you get on track. It's never too early (or too late) to educate yourself on #WhyYourMoneyMatters.
What is National Financial Literacy Month?
Financial Literacy Month was first recognized in the U.S. in April 2004. The goal was to highlight the importance of financial literacy and give people the tools necessary to get their financial health in order. The House of Representatives even passed a bill that supported the mission and asked the President to mandate this month's implementation to the Federal Government, schools, localities, and non-profit organizations. There are seven financial literacy components, including earning, spending, saving, investing, borrowing, and protecting.
How To Get Involved
There are many ways that you can get involved directly or help others. Here are a few of the opportunities offered in April.
o Money Smart Week 2021 runs from Saturday, April 10 through April 17, 2021. The event is 100% virtual and features one live online event each day and a host of financial literacy resources. Featured topics range from savings and banking to managing student loans, housing, and tax-related fraud. Presenters include the U.S. Department of Education, the CFPB, the Internal Revenue Service, FINRA, and the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center, among others.
o Financial Beginnings is a non-profit founded in Portland, Oregon, but is now expanding nationally. Its goal is to provide "accessible and unbiased financial education to youth and adults" and address gaps in school curricula specific to financial literacy.
Head to Financial Beginnings’ YouTube channel to learn more about financial topics like financing college, paying taxes, car insurance, etc. The organization's "Your Life, Your Money" series helps young people understand complex financial topics relevant to their future.
o The Council for Economic Education has daily events online. For example, on Instagram, they are offering quizzes to help students prepare for the National Economics Challenge and the National Personal Finance Challenge. They are posting “Millionaire Myth” posts sharing true/false myths about money and podcasts for students interested in learning more about finance. You can find a complete list of their offerings here.
o National Financial Literacy Contest presented by One United Bank. Ten children will win a $1,000 savings account. To make financial literacy a core value of the Black community, the Bank offers a free "I Got Bank” E-Book. Here's how students from across the country can participate between the ages of eight and 12. They are encouraged to read a financial literacy book of their choosing and either write a 250-word essay or create an art project to show how they would apply what they learned from the book to their daily lives. The Bank will choose ten winners and award each winner a $1,000 savings account at One United Bank by August 31, 2022.
o Our Money Matters is a financial platform designed by HBCU and MSI students and members of communities that live around HBCU/MSI campuses. It is free and designed to not only be educational but to be easy and fun to use. It includes everything from budgeting tools to guidance on paying back your student loan and investment strategies. You can even take a quiz to find out your unique money personality so a customized plan can be developed that will work best for you. Schools and community organizations throughout the U.S. are now utilizing OMM, and you can find out more about participating here.
o Campus and Coins DJ Mix-Up is a free and innovative event that will help students learn how to make more coins while also having fun watching DJs from two HBCUs, Dillard and SUNO, compete. The winning DJ will receive a cash prize based on audience applause.
o 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy presented by the American Institute of CPAs. The program features ten different sections for everyone from tweens to retirees — and includes a detailed section specifically for college students.
So, while most of us don't want to think about our finances every day, it's essential to get into a routine and learn how to secure our futures. Financial Literacy Month is an excellent opportunity to start discovering healthy habits that you can not only use now but put into practice for the rest of your life.
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