In March of 2004, the U.S. Senate recognized April as Financial Literacy Month in an effort to highlight the importance of financial literacy among adults and youth. In honor of this, Money Management International (a non-profit debt counseling organization) created a website called, appropriately enough, Financial Literacy Month.
In cruising around the Financial Literacy Month website, I found the section entitled 'Tools for Success' to be most useful. On this particular page, there are links to all sorts of helpful spreadsheets and resources, such as:
- The Income Worksheet
- Tips for Setting Financial Goals
- A Debt Payoff Calculator
- A-List Tips (featuring articles from PF bloggers we all know and love)
Each American has the same obligation to find and absorb the information, whether it's at the public library, in the office of a financial advisor, or in the multitude of pages on the internet. Of course, with internet learning, we always have to be careful that the information we're reading is reliable.
In addition to the Financial Literacy Month website, the U.S. government's Financial Literacy and Education commission website is a wonderful resource. There, you'll find all sorts of links concerning financial planning, paying for education, home ownership, and raising financially literate kids.
In my work with college students, "but nobody told me" is never an acceptable excuse for making a mistake. I'd posit that the same holds true of people who are financially under-educated. As I mentioned, no one is going to call you up one day and offer to give you, free of charge, the information you need (and I'd certainly be wary of anyone who did call with that sort of offer!)
Instead, we should all take responsibility for ourselves and our loved ones, with the helping hand of organizations like Money Management International and, yes, even the U.S. government.