Kicking Off National Financial Literacy Month

April has been dedicated to helping consumers effectively handle money, establish healthy financial habits, and deal with debt.

Posted: 04/03/2013 08:00 AM EDT

Happy National Financial Literacy Month! This isn't one of those observances made up to sell cards, but one created to give people the tools to be as financially responsible as possible.

The need for financial literacy is stronger than ever — especially in the African-American community, according to the sixth annual Financial Literacy Survey of adults. Two in five U.S. adults gave themselves a C, D or F on their knowledge of personal finance; 56 percent admit that they do not have a budget; and one-third of Americans (77 million) do not pay all of their bills on time, according to a recent study on behalf of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association.

Consumers looking to boost their own financial literacy and begin making better choices around money, savings, and debt should check out the National Financial Literacy Month’s Tools for Success. The site features online “Webinars” (seminars or presentations) on topics like goal setting, credit reporting, and credit management; online worksheets; and a personalized goal certificate to use as a motivation for achieving financial goals.

Ever since the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy began promoting an annual Financial Literacy for Youth Month back in 2000, the month of April has been dedicated to helping consumers effectively handle money, establish healthy financial habits, and deal with debt.

In 2003 the U.S. Senate passed Resolution 316 into law, effectively recognizing April as Financial Literacy Month. Promoted by organizations like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and supported by financial institutions and nonprofit financial educational organizations nationwide, the month centers on the NFCC’s annual survey on financial education and Springboard Nonprofit Consumer Credit Management Inc.’s Be Money Wi$e national financial literacy poster contest.

Since 2006, Springboard has offered students from 3rd through 12th grade an opportunity to participate in the poster contest, which combines creative expression with important lessons on financial matters. The contest offers students the chance to work with (and educate) teachers, students, and parents on the importance of wise money management.  

Doing Their Part

Across the nation many institutions are holding promotional events in April in support of Financial Literacy Month and creating educational materials designed to help consumers make the best possible financial choices for their own lives. The government is also taking part in the festivities and holding the 11th annual Financial Literacy Day on Capitol Hill on April 26. Financial Literacy Day features an open-house exhibition of financial literacy products, programs, and initiatives by more than 60 individual participants from the business, financial, educational nonprofit, trade association, academic, government, and other sectors.

Other tools to explore include:

NFCC’S long-term money management tips: http://financialeducation.nfcc.org/tag/financial-literacy/

Simple quiz: http://www.ibat.org/foundation/simple-quiz-aprils-financial-literacy-month

Financial literacy e-books: http://www.financialliteracymonth.com/Tools-for-Success/EBook.aspx

Financial education basis: www.MyMoney.gov

Keep checking back with BET.com each Wednesday for more tips and strategies on financial literacy and wealth building.

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(Photo: Getty Images/STOCK)

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