April is Financial Literacy Month
The month of April marks National Financial Literacy Month and serves as a good reminder that we are all responsible for our own fiscal future. Learning about IRAs and mutual funds, regularly contributing money to a savings account, or even implementing a retirement plan for the first time are just a few steps that can be taken in order to become more financially secure.
These steps may mean the difference between retiring at a time of your choosing versus continuing to work well after you hit retirement age. If you would like to learn more on how to set yourself up for financial success, there are resources and websites I would suggest visiting to to help you learn more.
One source is the U.S. Treasury Department’s resource center, which can be found at: http://www.treasury.gov. Another good website to check out is the FDIC Money Smart website. More information on the FDIC program can be found at: http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmart/index.html
However, we need to do just more than educate ourselves. What we must focus on placing a priority on educating our children about fiscal responsibility. I was struck by a recent USA Today article which highlighted a study conducted by EverFi and Higher One. The study found that freshman college students who had taken a financial literacy class while in high school were significantly more likely to be fiscally responsible than their counterparts who had not participated in such classes.
Specifically, the students who had taken a class before college had extensive knowledge on finances, were generally more opposed to debt and even more inclined to pay credit card bills in a timely manner.
There are some high schools in the 15th Congressional District that have finance classes available to students, and I believe those classes provide an outstanding opportunity for kids to learn more about this important issue. Another educational route to financial literacy among kids is through programs like the SIFMA Stock Market Game.
I was honored to recently speak with students at Lancaster High School who participated in the SIFMA Stock Market Game and are currently competing against 4,000 other teams from schools across our nation. Taking part in this program has taught them invaluable lessons on how the market works, buying stock, selling stock and the way interest rates work.
These programs are great, but I also believe we should start teaching responsible behavior well before high school. As the father of two young children, who are not yet in school, I know there are still steps my family can take to start to educate our children about fiscal responsibility. Right now we are teaching our daughter, Sarah, the difference between quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies and explaining to her why it is important to save her change in her piggy bank.
If you are looking for resources to talk with your children about finances, please check out the Jump$tart website. It is a national coalition of organizations dedicated to improving financial literacy for those in kindergarten through college. The Jump$tart website can be found at: http://www.jumpstart.org/.
This April, I hope you will consider taking steps to learn something new about finances. Perhaps you could set up a family budget, or just talk to your kids about what it means to be financially responsible. Even small steps can make a big difference in your financial future. If you have any questions about this, or any other federal issue, please feel free to contact my office in Washington, D.C. at (202) 225-2015, Hilliard at (614) 771-4968, Lancaster at (740) 654-2654, or Wilmington at (937) 283-7049.
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