In March 2004 the Senate passed Resolution 316 to recognize April as National Financial Literacy Awareness Month and the House of Representatives followed suit in 2005. But it wasn’t until March 2011, when President Obama made an official proclamation. Unfortunately, too few Americans are aware of this or even understand what financial literacy is. Thanks to my Dad, financial literacy has been an important part of my life since I was thirteen.
What is Financial Literacy?
According to The National Financial Educators Council, financial literacy is: “possessing the skills and knowledge on financial matters to confidently take effective action that best fulfills an individual’s personal, family and global community goals.”
Why I Care about Financial Literacy
My Dad taught me that “money smarts”, as he would say, comes from our ability to create joy for ourselves and others by using our money in alignment with our value system. As I grew older, I realized very few people did this. Most of the people I observed were consumed with having more stuff and their money beliefs were often negative and conflicted.
It led them to make poor money choices that not only hurt their pocketbook, but also their self-worth. I watched people around me try to fill the empty parts of themselves with flashy cars, designer clothes and the latest gadgets with little success. They were hurting terribly because no one had taught them how to think about money the way my father taught me. That’s when I decided to become a financial advisor. I wanted to help.
Why You Should Care about Financial Literacy
Every single person handles money so becoming financially literate shouldn’t be considered optional but a requirement. It’s never too late or too early to start learning about money. Too few know how to handle money properly, which hurts their long-term financial well-being.
The sixth annual Financial Literacy Survey of adults, conducted in 2012 revealed:
- One-third, or more than 77 million Americans, do not pay all of their bills on time.
- Two in five adults indicated that they are now saving less than they were one year ago and 39% do not have any non-retirement savings.
We see statistics and stories about high credit card debt and low savings rate and we grumble and worry and point fingers at who is to blame for this mess. A multitude of factors have brought us to this point, but now isn’t the time to assign blame – it’s time to take action and right this ship.
Over the next few weeks, in honor of National Financial Literacy Awareness Month, I’m going to share some practical tips to help you increase your own financial literacy and show you ways to pass along your knowledge to your children. I hope you will join me as as we work together to create a financial literate country, and it starts with you.
The Heavy Purse Store is now open! My new downloadable Money Club Workbooks are now on sale. Each workbook provides five targeted lessons to help you raise Financially Confident Kids. Please check them out in The Heavy Purse Store.
Photos courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net.