Financial literacy month: everything you need to know

Financial literacy month: everything you need to know


April is Financial Literacy month. For thirty days every year, the nation’s focus is on improving Americans’ financial literacy. So why is financial literacy important? How did Financial Literacy month come about? And how can you observe it? 


Read on for answers to those questions and more in our all-you-need-to-know guide. 


Related: Financial literacy for kids

What is Financial Literacy month?

Financial Literacy month is a nationwide, awareness-raising exercise. Its aim is to make the US population understand why being smart with money matters. How? Through financial education. 


During Financial Literacy month, financial institutions, nonprofits and agencies focus on the importance of financial literacy. They do this through events, programs and counseling. The goal is not just to help people learn more about finance, but to help them actually improve their personal and household financial stability. 




What is financial literacy?

In simple terms, if you’re financially literate, you’re smart with money. When it comes to budgeting, saving, spending, and investing you make wise choices. 


“Financial literacy is the language of money,” says Beth Zemble, VP of Education at GoHenry. “Just like reading literacy is the ability to recognize letters, decode words, infer meaning and then use this information to follow directions, solve problems and make decisions in your life, so financial literacy is the ability to read and interpret financial information to make decisions.”


Why is financial literacy important?

Financial literacy is key to understanding how to save, earn, borrow, invest and protect your money wisely. It’s also essential for developing financial habits that lead to your overall well-being. When you’re financially literate, it’s easier to plan your retirement, manage debt and live a comfortable life. 


Yet a study by the US Financial Literacy and Education Commission found that only a third of adults could answer four out of five questions about fundamental finance — like inflation, interest rates, mortgages and risk. Americans owe $800 billion in credit card debt and one third of adults say they are ‘just getting by financially’. 


Becoming financially literate means changing your behavior. Shifting your money mindset so you’re intentional with your money. “You tell your money where to go”, as John Maxwell said, “instead of wondering where it went.”


History of Financial Literacy month

Financial Literacy month is a relatively recent phenomenon. But its origins can be traced back to the time our country began.


The importance of financial education was recognized by Benjamin Franklin who wrote about it often. Much of what he had to say on the subject remains true today. He’s still on the money. Literally. 


In 1914, the Smith-Lever Act. formally established financial education. Courses in home economics, household finances or family finance began to be taught at universities. Whatever the course names, they all sprang from economist Hazel Kyrk’s prize-winning dissertation on personal finance published in 1923.


In 2002, the US Department of the Treasury established its Office of Financial Education. That paved the way for the Financial Literacy and Education Improvement Act, and the following year the Financial Literacy and Education Commission was established. Its findings provoked the national strategy for financial education. 


In 2008, Congress asked President Bush to declare April Financial Literacy Month. 

When is Financial Literacy month?

Financial literacy month runs from April 1 to April 30 every year. April 2023 is its 20th year. It will begin on Saturday, April 1 and run through to Sunday, April 30, 2022.  


Here are the start and end dates for financial literacy month until 2030.





Saturday, April 1

Sunday, April 30


Monday, April 1

Tuesday, April 30


Tuesday, April 1

Wednesday, April 30


Wednesday, April 1

Thursday, April 30


Thursday, April 1

Friday, April 30


Saturday, April 1

Sunday April 30


Sunday, April 1

Monday, April 30


Monday, April 1

Tuesday, April 30


12 facts for Financial Literacy month

To give you a better idea of the state of financial literacy in the US, here are 10 not-so-fun facts. 



How to observe Financial Literacy month

What’s the best way to observe Financial Literacy month? Take a long look at your personal finances and make sure they’re on track. Make the most of the resources available like Feed the Pig and check out the US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Resource Directory.


For parents, it’s a great opportunity to talk to your children about money matters. Because despite the fact 83% of Americans believe parents are responsible for teaching their kids about finance, few actually do. 


According to the US Financial Literacy and Education Commission only 12% of 15-year-olds are highly skilled financially. And as student loan debt currently stands at a record-breaking $1.7 trillion nationally, children’s financial education has never been more important. 


Of course, you may think you don’t need to discuss money with your kids. They’ll learn all about it in school anyways, right? Sadly, you’re wrong.

Urge the government to make financial education part of the school curriculum

The way schools cover personal finance varies from state to state and school to school. But right now, only 27 states require schools to offer a personal finance course. And only 15 states currently require students to take a financial literacy course to graduate.


Use Financial Literacy month to urge the government to make personal finance education mandatory in all schools and colleges. Important topics to include in financial literacy courses, according to the Council of Economic Education are earning, spending, saving, investing, managing credit and risk. 


Find out how your state is teaching kids financial literacy and lobby for change. 

Pledge to set a good example for your kids

Until financial education is on every school and college curriculum, it’s down to you as a parent to do what you can to further your kids’ financial literacy skills. “More is caught than taught”, as the saying goes. Your children mimic your behavior. So use financial literacy month to start setting them a good example. 


Review your own attitude to your finances and let them see you act on it. For example, if you’ve never had a budget system before, financial literacy month’s a great time to start. When your kids see you at the kitchen table once a week with your laptop, budget forms and calculator, let them join in. Take time to answer their questions. They’ll grow up seeing a monthly budget as a normal, healthy thing to do. 


Another way to teach kids about the value of money is with games and role play. Playing shops with younger children, or running a pretend cafe and using real coins, is one way. The Department for Financial Institutions also has loads of links to games. For older children, Game of life and Minecraft can teach them about managing limited resources and delayed gratification.


Help your kids improve their financial literacy from a young age

“Helping kids gain financial literacy skills is like helping them gain skills in any other discipline that has a direct impact on their ability to make good decisions”, says Beth Zemble, VP of Education at GoHenry. “We want to give our kids knowledge so they eat well, get proper rest, exercise and develop habits that will enable them to live healthier lives. It’s the same with financial literacy. Kids need a base of financial knowledge that will help live financially healthy lives as adults.”


As research by Cambridge University shows money habits are set by age seven, it’s never too soon to start your kids’ financial education. GoHenry is a great way to jump-start it. Available from age six, a GoHenry prepaid debit card, comes with a helpful learning tool: Money Missions. You’ll find it at your fingertips in the GoHenry app. 


Money Missions develops kids’ money skills through a series of bite-sized, interactive games and quizzes. They’re designed to accelerate your child’s financial literacy and help achieve our mission to make every kid smart with money. What’s more, you can use your GoHenry parent app to track your child’s progress. 

What are the best resources for your kids to continuously improve financial literacy?

Current US financial literacy may not yet be where it needs to be, but Financial Literacy month is a sign of progress. The more aware we are of our current financial literacy levels, the better we can prepare future generations to manage their money. 


A Consumer Protection Financial Bureau report found that starting early with age-appropriate, relevant financial education and consistently reinforcing those lessons can pay dividends, lasting well into adulthood. 


To help you continue your child’s education both during Financial Literacy month and every other month of the year, we’ve pulled together a list of financial literacy resources for children. As well as a financial guide for every age group, you’ll find useful books, podcasts, apps and other fun ways of learning. You’ll also find helpful articles on the GoHenry blog. 




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Written by Charlotte Peacock Published Feb 13, 2023 ● 6 min. read