April is Financial Literacy Month Have you ever found yourself at a dinner party or social event, contemplating whether the next topic of conversation should be religion or politics? For most, the answer is a definite “no”. Dodging discussions about politics and religion may keep you safe from social turmoil, but does avoiding money talk protect you from financial disaster? In the past few years, as a nation, we have neglected to have open conversations about financial literacy, and the importance that financial education holds in the United States. As a result of this, adults and their children don’t attain the financial knowledge to successfully manage their money. A significant number of people of all ages continue to lack the basic understanding of general finances. This includes concepts related to stocks, bonds, savings and checking accounts and even loans. The severity of the issue captured Congress’ attention, leading them to designate April as Financial Literacy Month. Although April will bring financial attention for many, it is imperative that monetary education and awareness is implemented in our daily lives. Placing importance to financial literacy 365 days a year will be beneficial to all Americans and set a great example for your children. The declining savings rates combined with increasing amounts of consumer debt leave us with more responsibility than ever to save and spend wisely. As a nation, we are not putting away the necessary resources today to ensure the continued growth of prosperity for tomorrow and beyond. Simply put, Americans are just not saving enough money for retirement or financial emergencies, such as unemployment or large medical expenses. There is no better time than now to learn and talk about finances. Have a conversation with friends and family. This doesn’t mean you have to disclose your personal financial information. Making important decisions like purchasing a home, saving for college, and what to do if you have overextended yourself can be quite difficult. It can be very helpful to have discussions with your friends and family who may have experienced what you are going through or who have more training and experience than you. For those who just don’t like mixing friends and finances, reach out to a local credible organization that can provide basic financial literacy education and can help to assess your debt and create a personal solution to get your finances back on track. Look for things like BBB rating, memberships and accreditations to help find a reliable service. Asking questions and knowing what questions to ask are equally important when beginning to talk about personal finances. Don’t wait until it’s too late. I challenge you to take the first step this month. There’s no shame in getting into financial trouble, but it is a shame if you do nothing about it.


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