By Randy Sacilotto, VP, Community Development
It’s National Financial Literacy Month, and at Navigant Credit Union, we believe it’s never too early to start thinking about financial literacy skills.
One reason we believe this is, unfortunately, simple: Statistics show that majority of Americans are still struggling with financial literacy. According to a study conducted by the FINRA Foundation, nearly two-thirds of American adults can’t pass a basic financial literacy test. Here in Rhode Island, according to a report prepared by the state treasurer’s office, our college graduates have the second-highest debt burden in the country and our residents are below the national average when it comes to average retirement savings.
We’re certainly making progress. Students today have greater access to educational programs focused on financial literacy, and state leaders are currently making an effort to approve a mandate that will require public high schools to include financial literacy curriculum in their graduation requirements. But it’s clear that financial literacy is still a pressing issue in Rhode Island and nationwide.
While we certainly appreciate the national awareness that comes with an official month dedicated to this issue, we also know that financial literacy education needs to be a yearlong effort if we want to see real change. That’s why, for years, we have committed to bringing financial literacy courses and interactive activities to young students in the communities we serve.
In 2004, we adopted the “CU 4 Reality” program and hosted dozens of “Reality Fairs” at local middle schools, reaching more than 2,000 local students over a seven-year period. Plus, in 2011, in an effort to bring comprehensive financial literacy education to even more students, we launched a partnership with EverFi, a national financial education resource. In just six years, our partnership with EverFi has reached more than 6,000 students, who have logged more than 22,000 hours of learning and completed more than 30,000 financial literacy modules.
We’re proud of our efforts in the classroom, but we know this issue can’t be solved overnight. In the meantime, we want to do everything we can to help our members with their specific needs. We have educational resources available to our members, and we host dozens of classes every year walking you through anything from first-time homebuying to managing a budget. Plus, our staff can help you choose the right checking or savings product for your needs.
If you have any finance-related questions, stop by a local branch or visit our website – www.navigantcu.org.