Throughout April, the UHM Foundation is celebrating National Financial Literacy Month. We support a wide range of financial literacy programs that provide assistance to an array of individuals. This blog will explain what we do and why!
Written by Josephine Redfern
For most people, April signals the arrival of Spring but for those of us at the UHM Foundation, April means something a little different. April is National Financial Literacy Month, and much like Spring, for many people, becoming financially literate can offer a chance for new beginnings and hope for the future!
Financial Literacy is one of the 4 pillars supported by the UHM Foundation, and it isn’t hard to see why. Being financially literate helps to give individuals the knowledge and skills that are needed to navigate through all of life’s stages. Having an in-depth understanding about personal finances, credit, budgeting, and saving is essential for everyone, of any age. However, according to this article by the New York Times, only 19 states within the U.S. require students to take a course in personal finances. This means that many people in the U.S. are lacking the knowledge necessary to succeed financially! This lack of education and knowledge can have a drastic snowball effect which could lead to individuals without retirement or emergency savings, low credit scores, and increased debt. All of this together puts individuals at a severe economic disadvantage. At the UHM Foundation, we are committed to helping people become financially literate because we understand that when individuals succeed, we all succeed.
Because financial literacy is such an important part of our mission, the UHM Foundation partners with several nonprofits that are dedicated to providing financial literacy resources and assistance to individuals and families. Grant support from the UHM Foundation has gone to Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland, where it sponsored financial literacy education in 40 classrooms, reaching 1,000 students in the Greater Cleveland area. The UHM Foundation also supports financial management education services provided by Homestretch, located in Virginia. Homestretch works to empower homeless parents with children to gain permanent housing and self-sufficiency. Their financial management education has the ultimate goal of helping these parents to become productive participants in their communities. With the support of our grant, Homestretch was able to launch their Credit Counseling and Debt Reduction Program. The results of this program are astounding! 71% of graduates had no credit upon entry to Homestretch, but they all had credit upon exit. The average score achieved by individuals establishing credit for the first time was 703 in 2019. Individuals working with Homestretch, and all of our other financial literacy nonprofit partners, have become financially literate and are one step closer to achieving complete independence!
Finally, because we care about your personal financial wellness, the UHM Foundation has partnered with BALANCE to provide you with free access to financial education, and the resources to help you with your unique personal finances. BALANCE is HUD-certified to provide comprehensive counseling services and can help you to transform the management of your money. In collaboration with BALANCE, the UHM Foundation gives you free access to budgeting tools and self-paced learning modules. These modules cover a broad range of topics, and you can search for resources on specific topics of interest to you such as student loans, credit reports, crisis management, COVID relief and more!
Additionally, each month, BALANCE hosts free webinars for our partners, clients, families, friends, and anyone who would like to join! These webinars are full of great information that can help everyone with their personal finances. This month (April) our BALANCE webinar is focused on building your first budget, and tips and tricks that can help you to maintain a budget that is focused on your needs. In the month of May, BALANCE will be providing information on how to handle financial crises that might arise. Finally, in June BALANCE will be helping you stretch your budget to help you to achieve your financial goals and to save on the things that might impact your finances the most like food and healthcare. Reserve your virtual seat to these free webinars here: https://uhmfoundation.balancepro.org/resources/articles/webinars/
Also, be sure to check out all of our BALANCE resources here! https://www.uhmfoundation.org/pillars/financial-literacy
Becoming financially literate is a journey, and no one is perfect but the most important part is YOU are in control. Just know that this month, and every month after, the UHM Foundation wants to help you to become knowledgeable and confident with your personal finances!
SOURCES: “Most States Don’t Require Specific Financial Literacy Classes.” By Ann Carrns. 2018 Jan 19. The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/19/your-money/states-financial-literacy-classes.html