Financial Literacy

Celebrating National Financial Literacy Awareness Month

Celebrating National Financial Literacy Awareness Month

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:

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.

Shannon

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.

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Comments

  1. Monday, April 1st, 2013
    Happy Financial Literacy month! I definitely think we would be better off as a society if people understood more about the income they earned!
    • Monday, April 1st, 2013
      Agree! We work hard to earn our money so we should figure out how to use it right!
  2. Monday, April 1st, 2013
    I was even unaware of this. I think it needs more attention because people in the US and around the world are mostly financially illiterate. Thanks Shannon for pushing this out and shining light on this.
    • Monday, April 1st, 2013
      Sadly, too few people do know about this. Hopefully we can help bring it the attention it so badly needs and help those ready to take action or serve as a much needed wake-up call. Everyone handles money; everyone needs to be finally literate. Yet, so few are.
  3. Monday, April 1st, 2013
    I knew of this, but never remember the month it officially is. Then, I saw a headline about it earlier this morning on the subject. Thanks for bringing this to light Shannon and for working to make people aware of how they can improve their financial deicisions.
    • Monday, April 1st, 2013
      Given the role money plays in everyone's lives, you would think it would be a big deal. Unfortunately, it's not! Hopefully, we can bring it the attention of the masses and help people take back control of their finances.
  4. Monday, April 1st, 2013
    PF bloggers should be celebrating, since this is our month! No matter how much information I'm trying to impart on others, I always have my ears open to new financial knowledge. I feel like it's my duty to keep people informed about how to save, and why finances should be an important part of their lives.
    • Monday, April 1st, 2013
      You do a great job of educating your readers. The finance world is always evolving, so you need to keep your ears and eyes open to stay on top of your finances. I think that's one of the best things about blogging - you're constantly learning and sharing.
  5. Monday, April 1st, 2013
    I look forward to your practical tips! While some people are good with managing their finances from day one, I think many of us pay very little attention to our finances until we really need to. And even then, sometimes the learning\managing our finances better is short lived. I was thinking this morning how I went through a similar personal financial disaster (to what I am going through now) back in the 90's when I quit a well paying job without a plan. The next 10 months were very difficult, but then I recovered, but really didn't learn much from it, so I repeated that mistake in 2005. Crazy, huh???
    • Monday, April 1st, 2013
      Thanks Sicorra! You are so right. We often don't pay attention to our finances until we are in crisis mode. :) You are definitely not the only person to make the same mistake twice, but I bet this will be the last time. You and your husband are very committed to eliminating your debt and living financially free. If you did once, then you can absolutely do it again!
  6. Monday, April 1st, 2013
    Never heard of financial literacy month! Thanks for the education and looking forward to the tips! :)
    • Monday, April 1st, 2013
      Thanks! I'm happy to help spread the word on a topic I love! :)
  7. Monday, April 1st, 2013
    It's astounding how many people are absolutely clueless when it comes to managing their finances. Thanks for the heads up about this--I'm definitely going to post about it! :)
    • Monday, April 1st, 2013
      You're welcome! It's so strange that we've gotten to this place where everyone handles money, but so few do it well. When I writing this post, I reviewed some surveys and the results just crushed me. People are so lost and the worst part is so few even realize it until their situation becomes dire. I'm glad you're helping create awareness if your readers.
  8. Monday, April 1st, 2013
    Those are some pretty sad stats. But you're right it's never to late or too early for people to start learning about money. Looking forward to your tips!
    • Monday, April 1st, 2013
      Thanks, Anthony! Those stats are sad and probably are not even the ugliest ones. :( There are a lot of people who need help, but thankfully there are more and more people like us trying to create awareness and offer support. :)
  9. Monday, April 1st, 2013
    I have to admit, I wasn't aware that there even was a financial literacy month. Thanks for the info Shannon! I look forward to your future posts regarding this :)
    • Monday, April 1st, 2013
      Very few people know Financial Literacy Month exists, which is sad, but not surprising. :) Hopefully we can help bring awareness.
  10. Monday, April 1st, 2013
    I didn't know it was National Financial Literacy Awareness Month. And with the stats you shared it's no wonder the government has decided recognize the problem with something like this.

    I'm looking forward to reading what you have to share this month Shannon.
    • Monday, April 1st, 2013
      Thanks Corina!! It was downright depressing when I was looking at financial literacy survey results. Again, given we use money every day, it's about time financial education became a priority.
  11. Monday, April 1st, 2013
    I had NO idea it was FLM. <notice how close that is to FML! ha ha! Which if you aren't paying attention to your finances you're probably saying a lot of. :) Looking forward to the articles.
    • Monday, April 1st, 2013
      LOL!! :) Thanks, Tonya. I appreciate your support!
  12. Justin
    Monday, April 1st, 2013
    Shannon thanks for pointing this out to me. I'm usually not one for these "blank" month, however for this one I'm willing to make an exception.
    In fact, this post kind of inspired tomorrow's rant, thanks.
    • Monday, April 1st, 2013
      You're welcome, Justin! I love it when I can inspire posts for my fellow bloggers as I am inspired by all of you. We do live in a country that tends to over-celebrate every single thing but this is one month I'm proud to promote!
  13. Monday, April 1st, 2013
    The two-in-five statistic is striking and a huge problem for the financial system as a whole. Thanks for sharing.
    • Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
      I agree, Tony. There is a lot of work to be done. Creating awareness is a starting point.
  14. Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
    Shannon, thank you so much for spreading this info: I too had no idea that this was such an important month! It gives us PF bloggers all the more motivation to share what we've learned with others and work to help people get that debt monkey off their backs. Thanks for all that you do, Shannon!
    • Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
      You're welcome, Laurie! It's definitely our month and a great chance for us to help even more people. It makes me sad that so few people don't realize the need to be financially literate, but the good news is the PF community is vocal and helpful!! Thanks for all YOU do too, Laurie!
  15. Monday, April 8th, 2013
    That's great that Obama made this more up front for everyone Shannon but maybe they need to take their own advice. Talk about spending money that they don't have! Urggggg

    This is a very important issue though, I agree. I am rarely late on a payment. The only few times I was it just slipped my mind that it was due. That's rare but it's during those times when I have something going on in my family that I kind of lose track of that but I hate to be late on anything.

    I was also taught by my Mom to not buy something you can't afford. I guess that's why I'm not a very materialistic person. They're just things and are of no significance to me.

    Great topic you're bringing up for this month and I wasn't aware either. Thank you for bringing this to our attention and it's definitely a very important issue. Now if we could just reeducate everyone then we all might be better off.

    Enjoy your week and month!

    ~Adrienne
    • Monday, April 8th, 2013
      I know - there is a certain irony that our government approved a month dedicated to financial literacy when their own skills are certainly lacking! In some ways, we probably shouldn't be surprised. Our lawmakers are just people too - who probably received very little financial education at home or school. :(

      It's great your Mom taught you not buy things you can't afford. With credit cards these days, people have to be so much more disciplined and unfortunately few are, which is sending a bad message to our kids. I like "things" - but things that actually mean something to me. Too many people buy things they don't even really want but buy to keep up with everyone else.

      I agree with have a lot of education/re-education to do and I'm happy to help play in role.

      Thanks for stopping, Adrienne. I appreciate it!
Shannon Ryan SHANNON RYAN, CFP®
  • Meet Shannon

    "As a Certified Financial Planner, it is my passion to help individuals and families build a healthy relationship with money. I look forward to helping you raise financially confident kids.” - Shannon Ryan
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