Until today, I didn’t know there was an entire month dedicated to financial literacy. On March 31, President Obama signed a presidential proclamation announcing that April 2011 is National Financial Literacy Month.
Part of the proclamation reads, “Americans' ability to build a secure future for themselves and their families requires the navigation of an increasingly complex financial system. As we recover from the worst economic crisis in generations, it is more important than ever to be knowledgeable about the consequences of our financial decisions. During National Financial Literacy Month, we recommit to improving financial literacy and ensuring all Americans have access to trustworthy financial services and products.”
The proclamation also includes three resources for consumers: MyMoney.gov, ConsumerFinance.gov and the 1-888-MyMoney toll-free resource hotline. The MyMoney.gov website includes resources for youth, parents, women, members of the military, retirees and more. The site also features calculators, budget worksheets and a variety of financial checklists.
While the resources provided by the government are a great place to start, I encourage you to go beyond these sources of information and take other steps to improve your financial literacy. These three suggestions can be completed over the next few weeks and will help you get your financial house in order.
Create a budget: I’m not talking about a list of where you spent your money last month but a true budget for the coming month. If you expect $4,000 in income in May, how much will you allocate to groceries, gas, the mortgage and more? Putting all of these numbers on paper will help you get a better idea of where you stand on a personal finance level.
Read a book: Read just one finance book this month. You can check out a book by one of these popular personal finance gurus, ask friends for book suggestions or just head down to the library and browse the finance section for something that catches your eye.
Create financial goals: If you haven’t already done so, create both short-term and long-term financial goals. For example, you can set a goal to save up a three-month emergency fund this year and boost your retirement savings to 10 percent of your income in the next three years.
Visit the Financial Literacy Month website for more ideas and pledge to improve your financial wellness today.