Financial Literacy Month is a time dedicated to celebrating achievements in and promoting the importance of financial literacy, along with highlighting the need for effective financial education. Sometimes referred to as Financial Capability Month, the movement started as Youth Financial Literacy Day by the National Endowment for Financial Education. It evolved into a month and was first broadly promoted by the Jump$tart Coalition.

This April, the observance of Financial Literacy Month takes on special meaning. At the beginning of 2023, I wrote an article talking about a “year of promise in further engaging our younger generations in personal finance discourse.” In honor of Financial Literacy Month, it is exciting to reflect back and see 35 states now require students to take a course in personal finance to graduate from high school, an increase of 12 states since 2022! Over 50% of U.S. public high school students in the class of 2030 will now be guaranteed to take a personal finance course before they graduate. Helping youth establish a solid foundation in personal finance has tremendous impact on them as adults.

Legislation is one step to help increase financial capabilities. Steps we can all take to convey personal finance principles to youth include:

  • Setting a good example – If there are children in your life, keep in mind that they see your actions, behaviors, and attitudes toward and around money. 
  • Having family conversations – At appropriate ages, have discussions with your children about the values tied to your family’s approach to money. These may include your intentions around saving, spending, and sharing.
  • Volunteering your time – There are numerous organizations that connect with youth regarding financial principles and many offer a variety of volunteer opportunities. These include organizations I am involved with such as BestPrep and Junior Achievement.  Additional Minnesota-based resources for financial education are regularly updated on MN Jump$tart’s website
  • Connecting with education policy decision makers – Although legislation has passed in many states, including Minnesota, there are numerous steps to take for effective implementation that can be influenced by legislators, school board members, school administrators and teachers. 

Two principles I like to emphasize when talking about money with youth are: (1) align your spending with your values and (2) don’t compare yourself to others.

You don’t have to be a financial advisor to make a difference during Financial Literacy Month—all of us have different experiences, backgrounds, and values that can be advantageous in our own advancement of youth financial literacy.