April is Financial Literacy Month! This year, many of us have unique opportunities to participate in Financial Literacy Month. As schools around the globe are shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents and caregivers have suddenly found themselves largely taking on the role of their children’s educators. Many are searching for new, exciting, and educational resources for children to do with their newfound free time.
Everyone’s financial situation is unique. We typically think of finances as credit scores, income, and net worth. However, analyzing financial well-being looks deeper by examining our relationship with money. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) defines financial well-being as “the state wherein an individual has a sense of control over day-to-day and month-to-month finances, capacity to absorb financial shock, being on track to meet financial goals, and the ability to make financial choices to enjoy life.”1
Our home state of Arkansas recently passed the Personal Finance and Job Readiness Act, a bill that will make personal finance a required high school course beginning in 2021. Many other states have been introducing similar legislation, creating a widespread understanding of the importance of financial literacy for young people.
In late September Pennsylvania State House of Representatives passed new legislation that will allow public school students to apply personal finance credits towards high school graduation requirements. Daniel Laughlin, a state senator for Pennsylvania stated, “I believe high school courses in personal finance should be encouraged.”1 This new legislation will go into effect within the 2020 school year. Students that complete a personal finance course have the ability to use that as a credit for math, social studies, business education, or family and consumer science. Pennsylvania promoting personal finance within their schools is encouraging and hopefully other states will follow their lead.
Today marks the 22nd anniversary of the Teach Children To Save (TCTS) program sponsored by the American Bankers Association (ABA) Foundation. TCTS is a free, banker-driven national program that is focused on teaching kids primarily in grades K-8 about banking careers, interest, money savings, and more.
Establishing and maintaining healthy financial habits is an important part of daily life. Various studies and surveys had found that kids, teenagers, and young adults were not being taught how to manage personal finances, credit cards, retirement funds, debt, etc. by parents or the educational systems. Given that, the US Senate felt it was important to establish a month dedicated to promoting financial literacy and generally raise awareness to the importance of financial education. Initially, the US Senate designated April as Financial Literacy for Youth Month in 2003 and established the Financial Literacy and Education Commission, supported by the Office of Financial Education of the Department of the Treasury. However in March of 2004, Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii proposed a resolution to designate April more generally as Financial Literacy Month. The resolution passed unanimously and without amendment during the 108th Congress.