By John Drachman
The U.S. Senate, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Reserve Board and more than 100 other federal agency and private partners want to help you – and your children – become more financially literate and then, hopefully, more financially independent.
Having designated April as Financial Literacy Month two decades ago; these financial institutions have been working to promote the literacy cause through campaigns, special events, online content, school curricula and more.
- Money Smart Week 2021: This virtual public education program coordinated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago runs through April 17. Sign up for free; then check out webinars like “Managing Personal Finances” and “Managing Money through Ups & Downs.”
- Math in the Real World: The Council for Economic Education and NearPod teamed up to create an interactive lesson plan built by a consortium of math, personal finance, and economics teachers. Sharpen a pencil or fire up a tablet; then tackle an engaging math curriculum designed to teach important personal finance and economic concepts
- Financial Beginnings: Dedicated to providing “accessible and unbiased financial education to youth and adults,” this nonprofit organization aims to address financial literacy gaps in school curricula. Financial Beginnings’ YouTube channel provides additional watchable insights on financing college, paying taxes, car insurance and more.
- Financial Literacy Beyond April: Keep the learning experience going and sign up for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) free Financial Literacy Update e-newsletter. This extensive bimonthly offers year-round “financial literacy events, initiatives and resources, with options for almost everyone.”
- Navigate Retirement during COVID-19: One consequence of the pandemic was the sudden, unexpected job losses confronted by many retirement-age baby boomers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a few good ideas on that timely topic to ease retirement transitions and manage change.
- Financial Literacy? There’s an App for That: Financial literacy covers a broad spectrum of topics from reducing debt, establishing a budget and developing financial goals to creating a fund for emergencies and much more. Many of the nation’s most popular apps offer learning modules on these subjects for free; including Mint, Every Dollar, Savology, and Credit Karma.
- Really Simple Budget Worksheet: For fans of keeping-it-simple looking to take their first step toward financial literacy, moneyunder30.com offers a variety of easy-to-fill-out budgeting templates.
The Bottom Line
Financial Literacy Month and online tools are an excellent way to begin getting your financial house in order. Beyond the basics though consider working with an advisor to gain broader access to information and guidance across a range of subjects – from crafting investment goals and tax strategies to gifting and retirement planning. By improving the big picture via financial literacy and the help of a licensed professional, you win on two levels: a better understanding of your financial choices and an objective coach who can recommend solutions tailored to your needs and lifestyle.
John Drachman is a contributing writer to MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor, the premier matchmaker between investors and advisors. John is an IABC award-winning writer, who applies his 30 years of financial marketing experience toward advancing the dialog between investors and investment professionals.