GUEST COLUMN: April is Financial Wellness Month

Published 4:00 am Sunday, April 10, 2022

By David McRae | Guest Columnist

According to a national survey, only about 20 percent of adults have participated in any form of formal financial education. It’s not surprising then that less than half of working men and women demonstrated basic financial wellness skills in a different study. That’s why every April we celebrate Financial Wellness Month to increase awareness of the need for financial education, especially for our children.

The Mississippi Treasury has put together a series of tools to help both kids and adults begin improving personal financial management skills. Visit Treasury.MS.gov/FinancialEducation to find a curated series of games, activities, and financial tools that every member of the family can use. Hopefully 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.

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There are tools for creating or re-working your household budget to help you track current expenses and make any necessary adjustments. Do you have enough money saved to cover an emergency? Take a look at your finances to determine how much you should be saving to prepare for the unexpected. It is recommended that an emergency fund should cover three to six months of household expenses. There’s also a tool on our website to help you calculate the cost of a new car – not just for financing the purchase but also for covering operating costs and regular maintenance.

Money Smart Week is a national public education program coordinated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago that empowers people with the knowledge and skills to make better-informed personal financial decisions. During the week (April 9-16), there are 100% virtual events streamed online at www.MoneySmartWeek.org that will allow you or your children to participate from anywhere. 

Do you feel like you’re overspending on groceries? The “Spend Smart. Eat Smart,” course will help you eat well on a budget. Are you worried about improving your credit scores? There’s a course for that too that will teach you 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 purchasing or refinancing a home that can help you obtain the best interest rates and avoid predatory lending. 

Older adults might be interested in learning more about Social Security benefits with officials from the Social Security Administration. Social security benefits are a critical part of financial planning for every American. You can also expand your knowledge of Social Security’s online tools and resources by visiting www.ssa.gov or if you have your statement with you visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount

Both our website at Treasury (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 be successful as well.

Mississippi Treasurer David McRae is the 55th Treasurer for the State of Mississippi.