Recently, Google posted a new feature on its G-Mail account; users would be able to send e-mails with self-declared timestamps, thereby giving the impression to readers that the e-mail was sent earlier so that senders could meet missed deadlines. Sure enough, it was April 1st – April Fool’s Day. While the rest of the country thought about practical jokes to play on each other, April serves as an important milestone as the official Financial Literacy Month.
My research described in previous blogs has highlighted the relationship between low financial literacy and poor financial decision making; today, there are notably low levels of financial literacy within the U.S. population, making financial literacy education a significant societal concern. As a result, April’s status as the official Financial Literacy Month is important since it serves as a reminder of the need to promote financial education. Governmental agencies, not-for-profits, and industry leaders have focused on April as a unique opportunity to coordinate a comprehensive strategy to educate the public. The 2008 Financial Literacy and Education Summit is a prime example of this. Here, stakeholders have the unique opportunity to learn and share best practices to promote financial education. According to the Summit’s website (http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/summit2008/), the purpose is to create a roundtable discussion with public policy, education, and private sector experts, to protect the long-term health of our economy.
With April as a focal point, as the official Financial Literacy Month, a more focused strategy can emerge that promotes the effectiveness of financial education efforts. Of course, financial literacy outreach shouldn’t stop at the end of April, but we should utilize this time to promote awareness regarding the pressing need to increase financial literacy.