March 29, 2012

NAFCU ready for Financial Literacy Month

March 30, 2012 – Federal and state government bodies, businesses and individuals are called to recognize April as Financial Literacy Month in a resolution cleared late Wednesday by the full Senate, and NAFCU is already working to that end.

NAFCU is conducting a survey of members seeking general information about the different types of financial literacy programs they offer and how credit unions judge the programs' effectiveness. Results are slated for publication in the April issue of the association's Economic & CU Issues Monitor.

The financial literacy survey will be conducted every March, with results published each April.

The resolution cleared Wednesday, S. Res. 409, was offered by first-term Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. The resolution, with 19 cosponsors, says expanding access to the mainstream financial system will give people more-secure, less-expensive options for managing their finances and building wealth. It further notes the value of quality personal financial education in helping people prepare for life.

Here are a few of the findings presented that may assist credit unions in their own Financial Literacy Month observations and activities:

  • The National Bankruptcy Research Center reports an increase in personal bankruptcy filings to 1.5 million in 2010, their highest since 2005.
  • FDIC reports at least 25.6 percent of U.S. households (representing 60 million adults) are unbanked or under-banked and have missed opportunities for savings, lending and basic financial services.
  • The 2011 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey Final Report of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling says 41 percent of adults in the U.S., or more than 77 million, gave themselves a grade of C, D, or F on their knowledge of personal finance.
  • The same NFCC survey report says nearly 64 million adults, or 28 percent of U.S. adults, admit to not paying all their bills on time; and just 43 percent keep close track of their spending.
  • The 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute shows just 42 percent of workers have tried to calculate how much they need to save for retirement.
  • A survey by the Council for Economic Education shows that only 22 states require students to take an economics course as a high school graduation requirement; just 12 states require students to take a personal finance course, independently or as part of an economics course as a high school graduation requirement.