Each year, Financial Literacy Month is celebrated during April. It’s a great opportunity to educate our clients and our communities about the importance of financial literacy and saving money.
During this month, Academy Bank and many other banks, credit unions, local businesses, and nonprofit organizations around the country will step up and share messages about financial literacy. Financial Literacy Month is a national campaign by the Jump coalition.
Learn more about Financial Literacy and how financial readiness can start with savings.
Saving Money Can Help During Hard Times
2020 was an extremely challenging year for us all -- with the pandemic, a high unemployment rate, and more. Unfortunately, many local businesses in our communities were forced to shut their doors for good. And many of us experienced the fear of the unknown, wondering when our lives would go back to normal.
We learned a lot about ourselves and our adaptability. The “new” normal included wearing masks, social distancing, working from home, and changing our routines in more ways than one. And some of us faced the possibility or reality of our very own financial hardships.
Almost no one could have predicted the pandemic that would change our lives in such a dramatic fashion. Was anyone prepared for this? Were we ready to handle what was coming our way? Could we have anticipated the long-term effects on the way we go about our daily lives -- now and in the future?
The negative aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic are easy to find. But you may be surprised to learn about some of the more positive impacts that came out of the pandemic. Many people adapted quickly and efficiently over the past 12 months, modifying their behaviors in short order. Especially when it comes to finances.
The national savings rate skyrocketed to 32% in April 2020, and revolving debt for consumers was reduced by $123 billion. The level of resilience we’ve seen amongst ourselves and our communities is incredible. When we were faced with a daunting wake-up call and an arduous task of dealing with things for which we were not ready, we answered the call to be adaptable.
Financial Readiness and Financial Literacy
We learned a lot of lessons in the past year. And one that stands out is that we must be financially ready with our savings in order to be financially literate.
We must prepare for the unexpected. We must change our behaviors. Many of us are familiar with the expression: “The only constant in life is change.” And while a global pandemic may only happen once in a lifetime, there are plenty of other changes we each face throughout our lives.
What does it mean to be financially ready? It means having a safety net and a financial cushion ready to absorb the shock of a once-every-100-years occurrence -- or another unexpected event, such as a car accident or an illness -- which is, unfortunately, not as rare.
Being financially ready and saving money starts by setting a goal. And it’s not easy. If it were easy, anyone could do it -- but it takes discipline, commitment and sacrifice. Saving money can come in many shapes and forms. Here are a few examples:
- Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to a savings account.
- Split your paycheck automatically between checking and savings accounts.
- Enroll in a retirement plan such as a 401(k) plan.
- Round up purchases to save money with the Savings Cents program.
- Pay off high interest credit card debt to reduce finance charges.
- Review your monthly budget and decide how you can eliminate unnecessary expenses.
What other successful methods have you implemented to save money? Share with us!
About Financial Literacy Month
The Jump Coalition is a nonprofit organization with the mission of providing tools for financial literacy to Americans -- especially to our youth. Financial Literacy Month began as Youth Financial Literacy Day more than two decades ago. In 2000, it expanded to Youth Financial Literacy Month, before The Senate passed a resolution designating April as Financial Literacy Month for the entire U.S.
Here are some of the virtual events and resources to explore for Financial Literacy Month:
- Money Smart Week: From Saturday, April 10 through Saturday, April 17, there will be one live online event each day, focusing on a variety of topics related to personal finance. Presenters include the Internal Revenue Service and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- The Council for Economic Education: Offering a variety of personal finance webinars. Sign up here.
- Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC): Sign up for the OCC’s free financial literacy newsletter to learn more about financial literacy events and resources.
Financial Literacy Month Is Here!
While Financial Literacy Month draws special attention to saving and financial readiness during one month of the year, we encourage our clients to save and learn about finances all year round, every year.
At a time when people are filing taxes and receiving tax returns, we know instances are on the minds of many Americans. And we’re here for you, helping you enhance your quality of life -- one financial decision at a time.