Financial Literacy Month
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National Financial Literacy Month is recognized in the United States in April in an effort to highlight the importance of financial literacy and teach Americans how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits.
In 2000, The National Endowment for Financial Education introduced Youth Financial Literacy Day. In 2003, the United States Senate designated April as Financial Literacy for Youth Month. In March 2004 the Senate passed Resolution 316 that officially recognized April as National Financial Literacy Month.
Since 2006, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) has emerged as the leading organization promoting Financial Literacy Month, releasing an annual survey on financial education and honoring the winner of its national financial literacy poster contest, Be Money Wi$e. The NFCC poster contest invites elementary, middle and high school students to submit a poster design surrounding a theme that deals with managing money effectively.
Many[weasel words] of the country’s financial institutions and nonprofit financial educational organizations promote the month by holding promotional events and creating educational materials that center around effectively handling money and dealing with debt.
Money Management International, a nonprofit credit and debt counseling firm, created a microsite to support the mission of National Financial Literacy Month, with a step by step process for improving financial wellness.
In 2003 the United States Congress showed its support for the idea of a financial literacy month. Senate Resolution 48 and House Resolution 127 asked President George W. Bush to declare April Financial Literacy for Youth Month. At that time, governors of eight states had already named the month of April as such. April was named National Financial Literacy Month by the passing of Senate Resolution 316 with unanimous consent.
In April 2005, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill supporting the goals and ideals of Financial Literacy Month. This bill, and the resolution passed by the Senate, called on President Bush to issue a proclamation calling on Federal Government, States, localities, schools, nonprofit organizations business and the people of the United States to observe the month with appropriate programs and activities. During his term in office, President Bush did not issue a proclamation.
During Financial Literacy Month in 2006, The Financial Literacy and Education Commission unveiled a new national strategy in their report "Taking Ownership of the Future: The National Strategy for Financial Literacy". The report outlined a series of outreach and education goals for the public and private sectors aimed to help Americans improve their understanding of financial issues such as credit management, savings, and homeownership.
Financial Literacy Month in Canada
Differing from the US, November is Canada’s Financial Literacy Month. The month is organized by the Financial Literacy Action Group (FLAG), a coalition of 7 non-profit organizations who work with the federal government body Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC).
Throughout November FLAG organizes events across Canada to educate and engage with the public regarding the need for financial literacy and promote services available to the public: “[FLAG] raises awareness of the need for financial literacy and highlights the programs, services and tools available to help Canadians improve their financial knowledge, skills and confidence.”
The need for financial literacy in Canada has been highlighted by the Investor Education Fund’s (IEF) study on Ontarians, discovering that only 3 out of 10 Ontarians are aware of typical priorities and strategies for long-term saving and even fewer know how financial priorities change with age.
The purpose of this month is to educate the public so Canadians are equipped to:
- Provide for themselves and their family
- Invest in their future and the future of their children
- Contribute to the community as a good citizen
- Senate Resolution 316; sponsored by Sen. Daniel Akaka D-HI
- http://www.jumpstartcoalition.org/fileuptemp/AprilFinancialLiteracyMonth.doc and http://www.jumpstartcoalition.org/fileuptemp/FINAL%20PR%202004%20Legislator%20Award.pdf
- Investor Education Fund, http://www.getsmarteraboutmoney.ca/Investor-research/Our-research/Pages/financial-literacy-research.aspx