Observed annually on August 14th, National Financial Awareness Day aims to highlight the importance of financial literacy and teach money management skills. With so many facing debt, lack of savings, and uncertainty about topics like investments or retirement planning, this national holiday provides an opportunity to focus on improving financial capability.
The Need for Greater Financial Literacy
Surveys show that many people struggle with financial matters. For instance, a 2022 study by TIAA found that 66% of adults failed a financial literacy quiz covering topics like mortgages, interest rates, inflation, and risk. Financial ignorance spans all ages as a Champlain College report showed only a 30% pass rate among high schoolers and a 40% pass rate among adults.
This knowledge gap has real consequences. Low financial literacy correlates with less retirement planning, higher debt, and increased likelihood of financial ruin if an emergency arises. Clearly, improving money management skills can lead to better outcomes.
Just some key areas where greater awareness is needed include:
- Budgeting and Saving
- Banking Basics
- Managing Credit and Debt
- Investment Strategies
- Retirement and Insurance Planning
- Avoiding Fraud and Scams
National Financial Awareness Day provides activities and resources to boost understanding in these critical aspects of personal finance.
History of the Holiday
National Financial Awareness Day was created in 2004 by the non-profit National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE). Their goal was to dedicate a day promoting financial literacy across the United States.
The date of August 14th was chosen as it coincided with the kickoff of the school year. NEFE hoped spotlighting the issue in summer’s final weeks would inspire both individuals and educators to commit to increasing financial knowledge.
Various local, state, and national organizations now support National Financial Awareness Day through campaigns, workshops, contests, and more. The holiday raises visibility of ongoing efforts to advance financial capability year-round.
Getting Involved Nationwide
Many fun and engaging activities occur across the country encouraging people to become more financially astute. Here are some of the ways individuals, organizations, and communities participate in National Financial Awareness Day:
- Banks and credit unions offering seminars on saving, budgeting, debt, and other topics. They also provide free one-on-one financial counseling sessions.
- Workplaces inviting financial experts to give talks over the lunch hour or making online money management courses available to employees.
- Schools incorporating financial lessons into the day’s curriculum and organizing investment clubs or entrepreneurship competitions.
- Libraries and community centers setting up displays of financial books and magazines people can browse.
- State treasurers and economic councils publishing reports or launching awareness campaigns on social media.
- Non-profits mobilizing volunteers to hand out tip sheets to the public on topics like avoiding scams or building an emergency fund.
- Faith-based groups organizing discussions about how to manage money wisely based on principles.
- Retirement communities creating cross-generational pen pal programs for seniors to share financial experience with youth.
While having a dedicated awareness day is impactful, improving financial literacy is an ongoing effort. Organizations like credit unions, JumpStart Coalition, and Educational Credit Management Corporation provide year-round initiatives like:
- Classroom curriculum resources for integrating financial education into different subjects for students of all ages.
- Advocating for state laws requiring personal finance instruction as a high school graduation requirement. Currently only 17 states have such mandates.
- Certifying financial counselors and educators through training programs on effective approaches to building money management skills.
- Developing online hubs, apps, and games focused on engaging learners to grasp financial concepts by doing.
- Providing toolkits, tip sheets, calculators and other resources to help individuals take charge of their fiscal health.
- Offering college scholarships, contests, and prizes for innovation in improving financial awareness.
Thanks to National Financial Awareness Day, more people stop each August 14th to reflect on enhancing their money management knowledge and skills. But fostering greater financial literacy requires persistent efforts in order to equip society with the understanding needed to secure brighter financial futures.