As you may or may not be aware, April is Financial Literacy Month. Increasing financial literacy is important as many of us live paycheck to paycheck, don’t have an emergency fund, and haven’t thought about setting aside money for retirement. Throughout April webinars were available on a variety of topics. In addition to my regularly scheduled teaching, libraries and schools invited me to speak on financial literacy. Now that April is winding down, where do you turn now to increase your financial literacy?
Over two decades ago, the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) hosted a financial literacy day, which later led to Financial Literacy Month. More importantly, NEFE has several financial literacy programs that are available free of charge and year around. One such program is Smart About Money (SAM). SAM has several resources and includes 13 online-self directed courses. This program is retiring on July 31, so take advantage of it while it is still available.
Another excellent resource is the Building Wealth booklet by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. It is an easy-to-read resource that includes five general topics; Learn the Language, Budget to Save, Save and Invest, Build Credit and Control Debt, and Protect Your Wealth. The booklet includes forms to calculate net worth, track spending, and develop a budget.
Your Money Your Goals (YMYG) is a financial empowerment toolkit by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The toolkit includes 43 tools and worksheets you can use to improve your finances. For this short blog article, there are too many tools to describe each one, but I can assure that the tools cover a variety of financial topics. In addition to the tools, there are four short booklets to address issues titled, Behind on Bills, Debt Getting in Your Way, Want Credit to Work for You, and Building Your Savings.
The last resource I will share is Money Smart by the FDIC. Money Smart includes a computer based instruction program. It is set up like a monopoly board using a roll the dice concept to move through financial topics. There is a young adults and an adults version each containing about 10 subject areas. Concepts include banking, credit, saving, borrowing, and home ownership to name a few. As we wind down Financial Literacy Month, there are still plenty of opportunities to increase your financial literacy. All of the programs mentioned above are easy to use resources for you. As a member of the Financial Wellness Team with University of Maryland Extension, I invite you to participate in any of our programs. For more information, check out our Financial Wellness website.