Congress declares April Financial Literacy Month for the 4th year
in a row and designates April 25th as Financial Literacy Day
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Congress declares April Financial Literacy Month for the 4th year
in a row and designates April 25th as Financial Literacy Day

SAN DIEGO, CA. ' Every month is financial literacy month at the ICFE. Congress acted for the same reasons as last year's declaration, it thinks Americans fall short when it comes to financial know-how. The purpose is to spotlight financial literacy. (This action came after Congress just raised the debt ceiling to $9 trillion.)

Community events, such Financial Literacy Day Fairs, will occur on April 25th nationwide. Much of the focus is on young people and there are school events, some month long, put on by financial, credit and debt educators and also financial planning groups.

ICFE recognizes financial literacy month by making available 'How to Teach Children About Money' a short, 13 slide, PowerPoint Show. It is available, free, as a download on Icfe.info. It also may be requested to be sent as an email attachment. It is available year round. Also on Icfe.info are two interactive quizzes. One is on spending and the other is on overspending.

April 25th, 2006 is Financial Literacy Day in America. According to the legislation passed by Congress (H-Res 737 in March and S-Res 410 in April), the resolution(s) sites the following:
* Calls upon federal government agencies, states, localities, schools, nonprofit organizations, businesses and the citizens of the United States to observe the month with appropriate programs and activities.
*The House resolution reflected the 'Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus' (FELC) established in February 2005. FELC was designed to highlight the public and private sector best Practices, and organize and promote financial literacy legislation, seminars, and other events.

(Congress also established the Financial Literacy Commission in 2003 to coordinate the consumer outreach efforts among the 48 different federal agencies who had an office of financial education and who weren't talking to each other. The commission is run the by Department of the Treasury's office of financial education and their web site is mymoney.gov. There are also competing efforts springing up, some funded by regulatory fines.)
*Some 10 million households in the United States do not use insured banks.
*A total of 75 million Americans 'remain credit challenged and unbanked' according to the Senate version.
*The personal savings rate in 2005 was -0.5 percent ' the first time the rate has been negative since 1933.
*More than a third of workers, some 37 percent, say they aren't saving for retirement.
These findings, along with others, are manifest even though 49 of 50 states include the subject of economics in elementary and secondary education and 38 include personal finance, according to a 2004 study put out by the National Council on Economic Education (ncee.net).
The Jump$tartCoalition for Personal Financial Literacy, a Washington-based non-profit organization with 50 state coalitions just released the findings of their biennial national survey measuring the financial literacy levels among some 5,775 high school students. There was virtually no improvement between the 2003-2004 survey and the 2005-2006 survey. The survey was conducted by Lewis Mandell, a professor of finance and managerial economics at the The State University of New York at Buffalo School of Management. Dr. Mandell said in a prepared statement released with the survey 'Financial literacy is important and we're not doing enough about it.' For more details visit jumpstartcoalition.org.

It is this writer's opinion their efforts are a bit out of focus. Here is why: Everyday spending decisions especially credit based ones, will do far more harm to your financial future than any investment decision you will likely ever make! If someone is spending everything and more than they earn, where do they think someone is going to come up with money save, much less money to invest?

For example, Robert Manning a research professor at the Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Finance recently was quoted as saying 'You've got to learn how to invest as soon as possible, in your 20s and 30s.' It is my contention if parents wait that long to start nudging their kids towards savings and investing, they will first have to undo 10 to 20 years of poor spending habits first.

National financial education efforts including those on the internet are by and large void of any meaningful spending education. Type the words 'improve spending' into Google and you will see ICFE stands alone among public education organizations who advocate such. Type 'spending techniques' into Google and get a similar result. It improves a bit when searching Google for 'financial education in spending' there are two nonprofits listed.

The ICFE's position is to be able to achieve a measurable increase in the personal savings and investment rates among American workers and also the increase percentage of workers who are saving for retirement, they must first be taught how to spend and how to avoid overspending, whether the latter is done through the use of credit or by just paying too much for things because of no comparison shopping efforts.

Oh! And please do the ICFE a favor on financial literacy day (really any day) and point someone to Icfe.info and in particular the interactive spending quizzes. Thanks.

 

About the ICFE:

The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation).  The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely. 
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.

The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org).  CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed.  In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.

The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much.  ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.

Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org.  Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G,  a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.

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