April is financial literacy month. Financial literacy is an understanding of money – how to make it,
how to manage it, how to invest it, and how to give back. Understanding money and how it works has
never been more important. The collective debt burden of United States citizens is $11.5 trillion dollars. This is 75% of US GDP. Only the United States and European Union have a consumer debt-to-GDP ratio this high. College loan debt is on the rise and now totals over $1 billion dollars. 38% of adults don’t think they’ll have enough to retire. Since 1 in 3 people have no retirement savings, they’re probably right.
If you yourself need help understanding the intricacies of money there is no shame in asking for help.
Organizations like the Financial Planning Association and National Association of Personal Financial Advisors have search tools on their websites to connect you with a financial planner. Or read a book
such as The Elements of Investing or The Wall Street Journal Personal Finance Guidebook.
If you have children it’s never too early or too late to start talking to them about money. You can share
with them a (simplified version) of the family budget, teach them about wants vs. needs, start them with an allowance, divided into Spend, Save & Give buckets. If you don’t know where to start, read Raising Financially Fit Kids by Joline Godfrey.
It might be a difficult conversation, but it’s important to make sure your parents have their finances in
Order, too. If they are one of the 38% who haven’t saved enough for retirement they might need help
with more than just understanding money.
There are a plethora of non-profits you can get involved with to help spread financial literacy to those who need it.
- Junior Achievement – focuses on preparing young people for economic success. They reach 4.8 million students a year. They rely on volunteers to get their message into the classroom.
- Bay Area Financial Education Foundation – partners with a variety of financial literacy non-profits, including Junior Achievement and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. They provide funding and volunteers to their partners.
- JumpStart Coalition – partners with organizations to bring financial literacy to kids. They partner with schools, non-profits, the government and businesses and are always looking for new partners to join their coalition.
- National Endowment for Financial Education – helps people of all ages with their financial needs. They partner with businesses to bring financial education to the employees.
This financial literacy month take it upon yourself to either learn the importance of being financially
savvy, or share your knowledge with somebody else.