Financial Literacy Month

April Is Financial Literacy Month

What Does Financial Literacy Month represent?

Since 2003, April has been designated by US legislators as National Financial Literacy Month.

Financial Literacy Month: April 2024

In 2024, we mark the 21st anniversary of April as National Financial Literacy Month, a milestone that underscores the timeless value of financial education in our rapidly evolving economic landscape.

As we chart our course through a world brimming with financial uncertainties, the United States grapples with inflation rates that have soared to their highest in four decades. The fabric of our global economy is further strained by geopolitical tensions, pushing fuel and energy prices to new heights and placing additional burdens on households nationwide. Now, more than ever, understanding how to navigate inflation and mitigate its impacts on our daily lives is imperative.

Yet, amidst these challenges lies an invaluable opportunity — the chance to deepen our understanding of personal finance, empowering us to make more informed decisions that can stretch our dollars further. The journey to financial wisdom is an ongoing one, but the path to taking control of our financial destinies is always open.

Financial Literacy Month serves as a beacon, rallying financial institutions, nonprofit organizations, and human service agencies to shine a spotlight on the critical role of financial literacy. Through a variety of events, programs, and counseling sessions, the initiative seeks not just to educate, but to truly empower individuals to enhance their personal and household financial well-being.

Mastering financial literacy means acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to manage personal finances effectively. It’s about setting achievable financial goals and charting a course towards them. This April, seize the opportunity that Financial Literacy Month presents to embark on a journey of financial empowerment. Let it be the month you commit to enhancing your financial literacy, for the benefit of both you and your loved ones, paving the way for a future brimming with financial stability and success.

Who Gets Involved in Financial Literacy Month

Each April, communities across the nation come together to celebrate Financial Literacy Month, a time dedicated to empowering individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary for sound financial decision-making. The scope of participation is broad, encompassing a diverse array of activities designed to educate people of all ages, from young students to senior citizens. Whether it’s through engaging workshops, social media campaigns, or interactive events, the goal is to make financial literacy accessible to everyone.

At the heart of Financial Literacy Month’s initiatives are the state affiliates of the national Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. These organizations play a pivotal role in orchestrating events and resources tailored to their local communities. Discover the Jump$tart affiliate in your area and explore how you can get involved by visiting their website.

In addition, reaching out to your state’s department of finance, banking, or consumer affairs can provide insights into financial literacy efforts within your state. These governmental bodies, responsible for overseeing banking institutions, often list or participate in financial literacy activities, offering workshops and resources to the public.

Don’t overlook the role of local financial institutions in promoting financial literacy. Banks and credit unions may participate in Financial Literacy Month as part of their commitment to community development, mandated by the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977. Inquire with your bank or credit union manager about their involvement and encourage their participation if they are not already engaged.

Nonprofit credit counseling agencies are among the most fervent advocates for financial literacy, dedicating their efforts to educating the community on essential financial skills, including budgeting, credit management, debt reduction, and saving for emergencies. Locate a reputable nonprofit credit counseling agency through industry associations like the Financial Counseling Association of America, and take advantage of the resources they offer.

Educational institutions, from elementary schools to colleges, also champion the cause of financial literacy. Teachers and professors specializing in economics, business, and consumer sciences frequently integrate financial education into their curriculum during April. Engage with educators to learn about financial literacy programs and how you can support their initiatives.

Libraries have increasingly become hubs for financial education, hosting events and workshops aimed at promoting financial wellness. Contact your local library to discover the financial literacy programs scheduled for the month, which often include sessions led by financial professionals on budgeting, credit usage, and debt management strategies.

For members of the military community, including active duty personnel, veterans, and families, Financial Literacy Month follows closely on the heels of Military Saves Week. Although the back-to-back observances may seem daunting, many base family services coordinators organize financial education activities tailored to the unique needs of the military community. Inquire about any planned events to continue building your financial acumen.

Financial Literacy Month is a collective effort, drawing together the strengths and resources of various organizations, government entities, and community groups. By getting involved, whether through seeking out education, volunteering, or simply spreading the word, you contribute to a financially literate society equipped to navigate the complexities of the modern financial landscape.

How Money Fit Is Supporting Financial Literacy Month

Money Fit has supported Financial Literacy Month since we hired our first financial education director back in 2004. Activities we have spearheaded or helped implement have included a Piggy Bank Beauty Contest in Idaho, classroom presentations from elementary and middle school through high school and colleges, and live early morning broadcasts with loan news reporters kicking off Financial Literacy Month from our conference rooms, just to name a few.

This year, we continue our growth in online financial education opportunities, having added our award-winning My Life My Choices online budgeting activity to our Academy. This 30- to 45-minute scenario-based challenge is ideal for middle and high school students. Plus, they each receive a free certificate of completion in PDF format sent directly and immediately to their inbox.

Additionally, Money Fit is committed to offering weekly Money Fit LIVE webinars, both addressing practical money topics and providing live chatting options to have related questions answered and concerns resolved.

How You Can Get Involved

If you think like we do that National Financial Literacy Month is a fantastic idea, contact your state’s Jump$tart Coalition to volunteer to help or ask about how to get involved. They might invite you to attend their meetings or volunteer at an event.

Additionally, we strongly encourage you to promote Financial Literacy Month on your social media pages.

On a personal level, we hope you will commit to increasing your financial literacy. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Check out and read a personal finance book from the library

  • Take one webinar a week and share what you learned on your social media pages

  • Read a children’s personal finance book to your kids, grandkids, nieces, or nephews. We love The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money so much that we’ve created a free program to get kids around the country their very own copy.

  • Subscribe to a new blog or podcast about a personal finance topic you either love or could use help with.

Here’s How to Get The Most From Financial Literacy Month

Depending on where you live, April might bring showers to grow May flowers.

While April may not be the rainy season in all states and territories, April is perennially Financial Literacy Month in the US. With the support of the National Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy and its state affiliates around the country, Financial Literacy Month has grown to involve financial institutions, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, and interested individuals.

Money Fit by DRS wholeheartedly supports Financial Literacy Month while also encouraging our partners, citizens, and clients to promote financial wellness year-round.

State Financial Literacy Events

Financial Literacy Month events vary dramatically at the state level. Many states launch the month with a proclamation signing by the governor or his or her representative. These are typically free events at the state capitol and would be a wonderful part of any civics lesson for young people. Some states hold special conferences while participating organizations in other states host educational events and programs.

For example, in Idaho, the Idaho Financial Literacy Coalition (Jump$tart’s state chapter) promotes a piggy bank beauty contest for elementary school students between third and sixth grade.

Organization Participating in Financial Literacy Month

Banks, credit unions, Jump$tart Coalition members, nonprofit credit counseling agencies, colleges, county extension offices, and many other organizations offer free personal finance courses throughout April. Many of these programs are facilitated in the community while others are provided at the organization’s home office. Still others, like those available through Money Fit by DRS, are available 24/7 online at no cost.

Why Financial Literacy Matters

  • Personal finance remains the number one topic of argument within a marriage.

  • Parents rank teaching financial responsibility to their children near the top of their wish list.

  • Only a handful of states require high school students to take a personal finance course before graduation.

  • Poor financial literacy leads to poor decision-making which leads to poor behavior which limits the household’s ability to reach its financial goals.

Whatever the reason you choose, take advantage of the opportunities this year to get involved in the financial literacy and capability movement. Check with your state’s Jump$tart coalition for activities available in your area. You can also contact your state’s department of finance, banking, or financial institutions since many keep a list of financial education activities and events happening in April.

How to Get Involved With the Financial Literacy Month

Finally, if you would like to get involved with Financial Literacy Month as a volunteer, contact your state Jump$tart Coalition or give us a call at Money Fit by DRS. We would be happy to connect you with like-minded individuals and organizations promoting personal financial responsibility across the country.

Questions Related to the National Financial Literacy Month

Who started National Financial Literacy Month? Back in 2000, the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), headquartered in Denver, Colorado, organized a Youth Financial Literacy Day. However, to avoid the appearance of favoring any one organization as an educational provider, NEFE requested that the National Jump$tart take over the role of organizing and promoting the day, after which Jump$tart expanded it to the entire month of April.

At the urging of Jump$tart’s state affiliates and other organizations and individuals concerned with Americans’ low levels of financial literacy, several state governors designated April as financial literacy month. Eventually, in 2003, federal lawmakers began passing annual resolutions to make April financial literacy month.

Who decides that April is Financial Literacy Month? April is declared financial literacy month on many levels. US lawmakers pass a resolution each year designating April as Financial Literacy Month. Many state senates and houses of representatives do the same. Not to be outdone or forgotten, mayors from quite a few cities and towns around the country choose to issue their proclamation designating April as financial literacy month in their local communities.

About the Author

Client Credit Report Authorization

You hereby authorize and instruct Debt Reduction Services, Inc. (DRS, dba Money Fit by DRS) and/or its assigned agents to:
  • Obtain and review your credit report, and
  • Request verifications of your income and rental history, and any other information deemed necessary for improving your housing situation (for example, verifying your annual property tax obligations and homeowner’s insurance fees)
Your credit report will be obtained from a credit reporting agency chosen by DRS. You understand and agree that DRS intends to use the credit report evaluate your financial readiness to purchase or rent a home and/or to engage in post-purchase counseling activities and not to grant credit. You understand you may ask any questions pertaining to your credit report. However, while DRS will review the information with you, the company is not able to furnish you with a copy of your credit profile. You hereby authorize DRS to share your information from your credit report and any information that you provided (including any computations and assessments produced) with the entities listed below to help DRS determine your viable financial options.
  • Banks
  • Counseling Agencies
  • Debt Collectors
  • Landlords
  • Lenders
  • Mortgage Servicers
  • Property Management Companies
  • Public Housing Authorities
  • Social Service Agencies
Entities such as mortgage lenders and/or counseling agencies may contact your DRS counselor to evaluate the options for which you may be eligible. In connection with such evaluation, you authorize the credit reporting and/or financial agencies to release information and cooperate with your DRS counselor. No information will be discussed about you with entities not directly involved in your efforts to improve your housing situation. You hereby authorize the release of your information to program monitoring organizations of DRS, including but not limited to, Federal, State, and nonprofit partners for program review, monitoring, auditing, research, and/or oversight purposes. In addition, you authorize DRS to have your credit report pulled two additional times to conduct program evaluations. You also agree to keep DRS informed of any changes in address, telephone number, job status, marital status, or other conditions which may affect your eligibility for a program you have applied for or a counseling service that you are seeking. Finally, you understand that you may revoke consent to these disclosures by notifying DRS in writing.

Client Privacy, Data Security, and Client Rights Policy

NOTE: This sheet is to inform new or returning clients about our services, records, fees, and limitations that may affect you as a consumer of our services. This form also discloses how we might release your information to other agencies and/or regulators. If you do not understand a statement, please ask a Debt Reduction Services (DRS) counselor for assistance.

Debt Reduction Services, Inc. (DRS) has put into place policies and procedures to protect the security and confidentiality of your nonpublic personal information. This notice explains our online information practices and how we use and maintain your information to conduct our financial education and credit counseling sessions and to fulfill information and question requests. This privacy policy complies with federal laws and regulations.

To provide our financial education and credit counseling services, we collect nonpublic personal information about you as follows: 1) Information we receive from you, 2) Information about your transactions with us or others, and 3) Information we receive from your creditors or a consumer reporting agency. We do not share this information with outside parties.

We use non-identifying and aggregate information to better design our website and services, but we do not disclose anything that could be used to identify you as an individual.

You hereby authorize DRS, when necessary, to share your nonpublic personal, financial, credit, and any information that you provided (including any computations and assessments produced) with the following entities in order to help DRS provide you with appropriate counseling or guide you to appropriate services: third parties such as government agencies, your lender(s), your creditor(s), and nonprofit housing-related and other financial agencies as permitted by law, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

To prevent unauthorized access, maintain data accuracy, and ensure the correct use of information, we have put in place appropriate physical, electronic, and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online. We limit access to your nonpublic personal information to our employees, contractors and agents who need such access to provide products or services to you or for other legitimate business purposes.

Debt Reduction Services, Inc. complies with the privacy requirements set forth in the HUD housing counseling agency handbook 7610.1 (05/2010), including the sections 2-2 Mc, 3-1 H(2), 3-3, 5-3 F, and Attachment A.5. At all times, we will comply with all additional laws and regulations to which we are subject regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of individually identifiable information.

  1. Services: DRS provides the following housing-related services: counseling that includes Homeless Assistance, Rental Topics, Pre-purchase/Homebuying, and Home Maintenance and Financial Management for Homeowners (Non-Delinquency Post-Purchase); Education courses that include Financial literacy (including home affordability, budgeting, and understanding use of credit), Predatory lending, loan scam or other fraud prevention, Fair housing, Rental topics, Pre-purchase homebuyer education, Non-delinquency post-purchase workshop (including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners), and other workshops not listed above.

Please refer to DebtReductionServices.org for details of our services.

  1. Limits: Our services are limited to our normal weekday business hours. We do not provide individual counseling or education services after hours or on weekends, although our education courses are available 24/7.
  2. Fees: We do not charge fees for our financial management counseling and education. However, if you use them, you may have to pay for our Debt Management Program, Student Loan Counseling, Bankruptcy Certificate Services or certain financial education courses (homebuyer education, rental topics, fair housing, predatory lending, and post-purchase-non-delinquency including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners).
  3. Records: We maintain records of the services you receive, including notes about your progress or other relevant information to your work with us. You have the right to access and view your records by making a request to your counselor.
  4. Confidentiality: We respect your privacy and offer our services in confidence with the understanding that we may share such information with auditors and government regulators. Certain laws or situations may also lead to disclosing confidential issues, such as those involving potential child abuse or neglect, threats to harm self or others, or court subpoenas.
  5. Refusal of Services: You have the right to refuse services without any penalty or loss.
  6. Disclosure of Policies and Practices: You will be provided our agency disclosure statement.
  7. Sharing of Information: Sometimes we will need to contact other agencies or we may need to share your information, including your records, with other agencies or with regulators. We will do this only if you sign this form that gives us permission except for limited reasons; please see # 5 above for examples of such situations.
  8. Other: You have the right to be treated with respect by our staff, and we expect the same from you in return. We encourage you to always ask questions if something is not clear. We also encouraged you to express your thoughts and advocate throughout our services.

You acknowledge that this authorization will remain in effect for the duration of time that DRS serves as your housing counselor or financial education provider. You also acknowledge that should you wish to terminate this authorization, you will notify DRS in writing.

Disclosure  Statement

NOTE: If you have an impairment, disability, language barrier, or otherwise require an alternative means of completing this form or accessing information about our counseling services, please communicate with your DRS representative about arranging alternative accommodations.

Program Disclosure Form

Disclosure to Client for HUD Housing Counseling Services

Debt Reduction Services, Inc. and its financial education arm, Money Fit by DRS, offer the following housing counseling and educational services related to housing, personal finance, and bankruptcy certificates to consumers:
  • Housing Education Courses: DRS offers many online self-guided education programs classified as Financial, Budgeting, and Credit Workshops (FBC), Fair Housing Pre-Purchase Education Workshops (FHW), Homelessness Prevention Workshops (HMW), Non-Delinquency Post Purchase Workshops (NDW), Predatory Lending Education Workshops (PLW), Pre-purchase Homebuyer Education Workshops (PPW), and Rental Housing Workshops (RHW). These courses help participants increase their knowledge of and skills in personal finance, including home affordability, budgeting, and understanding the use of credit, as well as predatory lending, loan scams, and other fraud prevention topics, fair housing, rental topics, pre-purchase homebuyer education, non-delinquency post-purchase topics including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners, homeless prevention workshop, and other workshops not listed above relating to personal finance and housing. Course details are found below under “Housing Workshops.”
  • Home Equity Conversation Mortgage (HECM) Counseling (RMC): Via telephone and virtual platforms, we offer the required HECM counseling nationwide in addition to in-person counseling in Boise, Idaho. We also offer in-home counseling options in thirty counties across southern Idaho for an additional fee to cover our travel and additional staff time costs.
  • Home Maintenance and Financial Management for Homeowners (Non-Delinquency Post-Purchase) (FBC): Clients receive counseling and materials on the proper maintenance of their home and mortgage refinancing. Clients can find help and resources by phone, in our Boise office, or virtually on all topics related to stabilizing their long-term homeownership.
  • Services for Homeless Counseling (HMC): Clients receive phone, virtual, or in-person (Boise) counseling to evaluate their current housing needs, identify barriers to and goals for housing stability, establish a path to self-sufficiency, and connect with emergency shelters, income-appropriate housing, and/or other community resources (e.g. mental healthcare, job training, transportation, etc.).
  • Pre-Purchase Counseling (PPC): Clients receive counseling through the entire homebuying process. Assistance may involve creating a sustainable household budget, understanding mortgage options, building their credit rating, and putting together a realistic action plan to set and achieve homeownership goals.  Additionally, clients will receive materials and resources about home inspections and other homeownership topics relevant to successfully maintaining a home.
  • Rental Housing Counseling (RHC): Via phone, in-person appointments (Boise, ID), or virtual platforms, clients receive housing counseling relevant to renting, including rent subsidies from HUD or other government and assistance programs. Topics can also address issues and concerns having to do with fair housing, landlord and tenant laws, lease terms, rent delinquency, household budgeting, and finding alternate housing.
DRS also offers the following services:
  • A Debt Management Program (DMP) for consumers struggling to pay their credit cards, collections, medical debts, personal loans, old utility bills, and past-due cell phone accounts;
  • The Budget Briefing and Debtor Education Certificates that are required during the Bankruptcy filing process;
  • A Student Loan Repayment Plan Counseling and application service.

Relationships with Industry Partners

Through such services, DRS has established financial relationships with hundreds of banks, credit unions, and creditors such as American Express, Bank of America, Barclays, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, Credit One, Discover, Synchrony, US Bank, USAA, Wells Fargo, and others.

No Client Obligation

The client is not obligated to receive, purchase or utilize any other services offered by DRS or its exclusive partners to receive financial education or housing counseling services. Alternatives: As a condition of our counseling services, in alignment with meeting our client services goals, and in compliance with HUD’s Housing Counseling Program requirements, we may provide information on alternative services, programs, and products available to you, if applicable and known by our staff. Alternative DMP services include negotiating better repayment terms directly with your individual creditors, paying your debts as agreed, or, in extreme cases, filing for personal bankruptcy. Alternative credit and education services can be found through MyMoney.gov or the Jump$tart Clearinghouse of online financial education resources. Housing counseling alternatives can be found through HUD at www.hud.gov/findacounselor.
Finally, you understand that you may revoke consent to these disclosures by notifying DRS in writing.

Housing Counseling and Education Fee Schedule

 

Online Education Program Fees*

Homebuyer Education Course: $59 per participant

  • Self-paced course available here, our online housing counseling and education center. Certificates will be automatically generated upon completion of the course (approximately 6-8 hours)

RentalFair HousingPredatory Lending / HOEPAPost-Purchase (Non-delinquency post-purchase workshop, including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners) Online Workshops: $49 per participant

  • Approximately 1 hour each

Other Self-Guided Financial Literacy Webinars (e.g. creditbudgetinghomeless preventiondebt prevention): $0

One-on-one Counseling Fees*

Pre-purchase Homebuying Counseling, Rental Counseling, Post-purchase Ownership Maintenance and Financial Management: $75

  • Session by the hour

Reverse Mortgage/HECM Counseling with Required Certificate:

  • $200†

Credit Report Fee: Paid Directly by Client

*Fees for all but our online education courses and workshops can be paid online by debit card, credit card, or PayPal or in person by cash, check or money order to: “Debt Reduction Services, Inc.” Registration fees are non-refundable 24 hours or less before the start of an in-person course or workshop. Certificates are non-transferable

*Fees may be waived for households with income of 150% or less of that identified on the US Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines Page

†Home visit counseling is available in 30 southern Idaho counties for potential HECM borrowers at additional costs to cover our travel (IRS reimbursement rates apply) and staff time ($50 per hour or fraction there).

Housing Counseling and Education Fee Schedule

 

Online Education Program Fees*

Homebuyer Education Course: $59 per participant

  • Self-paced course available here, our online housing counseling and education center. Certificates will be automatically generated upon completion of the course (approximately 6-8 hours)

RentalFair HousingPredatory Lending / HOEPAPost-Purchase (Non-delinquency post-purchase workshop, including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners) Online Workshops: $49 per participant

  • Approximately 1 hour each

Other Self-Guided Financial Literacy Webinars (e.g. creditbudgetinghomeless preventiondebt prevention): $0

One-on-one Counseling Fees*

Pre-purchase Homebuying Counseling, Rental Counseling, Post-purchase Ownership Maintenance and Financial Management: $75

  • Session by the hour

Reverse Mortgage/HECM Counseling with Required Certificate:

  • $200†

Credit Report Fee: Paid Directly by Client

*Fees for all but our online education courses and workshops can be paid online by debit card, credit card, or PayPal or in person by cash, check or money order to: “Debt Reduction Services, Inc.” Registration fees are non-refundable 24 hours or less before the start of an in-person course or workshop. Certificates are non-transferable

*Fees may be waived for households with income of 150% or less of that identified on the US Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines Page

†Home visit counseling is available in 30 southern Idaho counties for potential HECM borrowers at additional costs to cover our travel (IRS reimbursement rates apply) and staff time ($50 per hour or fraction there).