April kicks off Financial Literacy Month, a nationally recognized campaign to bring awareness to the need for more financial education in schools and for adults. The campaign has been around for decades, yet you may have never heard of it.
Here’s a look at the ins and outs of Financial Literacy Month, how it came into existence and what you can do to support financial literacy right now.
What Is Financial Literacy Month?
In the U.S., Financial Literacy Month is a national campaign organized by the Jump$tart Coalition to raise awareness about financial literacy and promote financial education. The Jump$tart Coalition and its partner organizations host events and initiatives throughout the month to improve financial literacy in America.
The History of Financial Literacy Month
Financial Literacy Month’s beginnings go back more than two decades. The campaign began as Youth Financial Literacy Day, first introduced by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE).
In 2000, NEFE handed over the reins to the Jump$tart Coalition, which expanded the one-day campaign to an entire month called Financial Literacy for Youth Month. The event’s name was eventually changed to Financial Literacy Month. In 2004, the Senate passed a resolution to recognize April as Financial Literacy Month.
What Is the Jump$tart Coalition?
Jump$tart is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. The organization was founded in 1995. Its primary purpose is to promote financial literacy curriculum in American schools.
The Jump$tart Coalition started as an idea by then Chairman and CEO of the Ford Motor Credit Corporation, William E. Odom. According to the organization, the initial meeting was intended to “develop a strategic plan for improving the quality and extent of curriculum modules for personal finance education in the nation’s schools, grades K-12.”
In 1997, the Jump$tart Coalition was incorporated as an independent nonprofit organization. There are currently Jump$tart Coalition-affiliated state chapters in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The Jump$tart Coalition also has a network of sustaining, federal agency and national partners, numbering more than 100—including the American Bankers Association Foundation, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Reserve Board, individual banks and financial institutions, national associations and educational organizations.
The Goals of Financial Literacy Month
Financial Literacy Month’s mission has always been to promote, advocate for and support financial literacy efforts across the U.S., especially in schools for kids and teenagers. Jump$tart Coalition and other organizations promote the literacy campaign through special events, online and print content, school curricula and more.
How Can You Get Involved During Financial Literacy Month?
Financial Literacy Month kicked off on April 1, 2021, and organizations have events and activities planned to promote financial literacy in America.
Money Smart Week
Money Smart Week 2021 runs from Saturday, April 10 through Saturday, April 17, 2021. The event is 100% virtual this year and features one live online event each day, along with a host of financial literacy resources. Focusing on personal finance, featured topics range from savings and banking to managing student loans, housing and tax-related fraud.
Presenters include the U.S. Department of Education, the CFPB, the Internal Revenue Service, FINRA, the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center, the Economic Awareness Council, the University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Council for Economic Education
The Council for Economic Education offers several resources for teachers and students for this year’s Financial Literacy Month:
- Live personal finance webinars for teens in grades nine through 12
- Monday Financial Lesson Plan Drop: The Council for Economic Education is releasing financial lesson plans from EconEdLink for elementary, middle school and high school students. The plans drop on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn every Monday in April.
- Virtual Event—Fearless Woman: Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation with Annamaria Lusardi (Thursday, April 22, 5 p.m. ET)
- Virtual Event—Women for Girls speaker series featuring Emily Kolinski Morris (Wednesday, April 28, 5 p.m. ET)
Nonprofit organization Financial Beginnings was founded in Portland, Oregon, in 2005 and is expanding nationally. Its goal is to provide “accessible and unbiased financial education to youth and adults” and address gaps in school curricula specific to financial literacy.
Head to Financial Beginnings’ YouTube channel to learn more about financial topics like financing college, paying taxes, car insurance and more. The organization’s “Your Life, Your Money” series helps young people understand complex financial topics relevant to their future.
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
You can sign up for the OCC’s free Financial Literacy Update e-newsletter. This bimonthly newsletter features an extensive list of financial literacy events, initiatives and resources, with options for almost everyone.
Along with the resources mentioned above, check out other recent Forbes Advisor articles for ways to help teach your kids about money:
- How To Involve Your Kids In Your Family Budget
- What Is A Savings Account And How Does It Work?
- How To Teach Your Kids Good Money Habits
- A Guide To Kids’ Savings Accounts
- Investing For Kids
- Should You Add Your Children As Authorized Users On Your Credit Card?
- How To Teach Your Teens About Credit
National Financial Literacy Month is a great time to spark discussions in your home about saving, spending, budgeting, giving and other personal finance-related topics. Use the resources above, or come up with your own, to jump-start your family’s financial literacy efforts this month.
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