By David McRae | Guest columnist
According to a national survey, only about 20% of adults have participated in some form of formal financial education. It’s no surprise, then, that less than half of working men and women demonstrated basic financial wellness skills in another study. That’s why, every April, we celebrate Financial Wellness Month to raise awareness about the need for financial education, especially for our children.
The Mississippi Treasury has developed a series of tools to help children and adults begin to improve their personal financial management skills. To visit Treasury.MS.gov/FinancialEducation to find a curated series of games, activities, and financial tools that every family member can use. I hope these tools will help you start the conversation about improving financial practices in your home. It’s never too late to start and there’s always more to learn.
There are tools to create or rework your family budget to help you track current expenses and make any necessary adjustments. Do you have enough money saved to cover an emergency? Examine your finances to determine how much you should save to prepare for the unexpected. It is recommended that an emergency fund cover three to six months of household expenses. There is also a tool on our website to help you calculate the cost of a new car – not only to finance the purchase, but also to cover running costs and regular maintenance.
Money Smart Week is a national public education program coordinated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago that equips people with the knowledge and skills to make better-informed personal financial decisions. During the week (April 9-16), 100% virtual events are streamed online at www.MoneySmartWeek.org that will allow you or your children to participate from anywhere.
Feel like you’re spending too much on groceries? The “Spend Smart. Eat Smart” will help you eat well within your budget. Are you worried about improving your credit scores? There is also a course for this that will teach you the key steps to improving your scores as well as how to find common issues in credit reports that may be unfairly impacting your scores. There’s a session on buying or refinancing a home that can help you get the best interest rates and avoid predatory lending.
Older adults might be interested in learning more about Social Security benefits with Social Security Administration officials. Social Security benefits are an essential part of financial planning for every American. You can also learn more about Social Security online tools and resources by visiting www.ssa.gov or if you have your statement with you visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount.
Our Treasury website (Treasury.MS.gov/FinancialEducation) and the Smart Money Week website (SmartMoneyWeek.org) are great places to start improving your financial future and teaching your kids the skills they need to succeed, too.
Mississippi Treasurer David McRae is the 55th Treasurer of the State of Mississippi.