Marcia's Blog

A Month Isn’t Enough for Financial Literacy

Every April during Financial Literacy Month, we focus on the importance of financial education. We talk about the need to educate consumers on ways to better manage their money and achieve financial security.

While that’s a good start, it’s not enough.

According to Money Management International, Americans carry more than $2 trillion in consumer debt. Not only that, but 30 percent of consumers say they have no extra cash once the bills are paid each month.

Let’s think about that for a minute.

  • If consumers have no extra cash after the bills are paid, that means they’re less likely to save and more likely to fall further into debt if something as routine as a minor car repair is needed.
  • If they have the credit score necessary to qualify for a mortgage, they may not have the funds they need for a down payment or closing costs.
  • If they are homeowners, they might be more likely to have challenges paying the mortgage if they experience a major financial challenge.

We all have a stake in ensuring that Americans have the financial education that they need.  Yet we don’t provide the support and a structured environment for consumers to achieve that goal.

HUD-approved counseling organizations can fill that gap.

We give consumers the opportunity to meet with a counselor or take a class on preparing for homeownership.

We offer guidance throughout the homebuying process so homeowners are more prepared for the responsibilities that come with homeownership. After all, it’s been documented that those who receive pre-purchase home buyer education have a lower default rate.

We meet clients where they are. The nation’s counseling organizations are rooted in the communities in which we serve. We know the problems consumers face every day. We speak their language, and we have their trust. When they do have questions, they are more likely to come to us with their concerns because they know that we are working in their best interests.

A world in which financial literacy is the norm is one that we should all strive for, and we acknowledge that this month. But we won’t stop there. 

Let’s all do our part to make financial literacy a part of the conversation not just once a year, but every single day.