Only 58% of adults in the U.S. are financially literate, and 78% live paycheck to paycheck.
"Financial literacy is one of the most important issues we face today," said Leslie Paris, whose community engagement team at BOK Financial® manages the Learn for Life volunteer program. Through Learn for Life, company employees teach basic financial skills to kids ages five to 18 through games, simulations and classroom education.
"A strong sense of basic financial matters—how to save, budget and invest—gives people the tools they need to make sound decisions about their personal and family finances that can bring stability to their lives," she said.
Understanding money and how to manage your personal finances revolves around some basic building blocks: budgeting, emergency savings, debt management and retirement. Financial Literacy Month in April is the perfect time for a quick refresher on these principles if you want to improve your financial acumen.
These foundational topics are a great starting point for anyone interested in improving their financial literacy.
When it comes to building a solid financial foundation, get started by creating and following a monthly budget.
If it's already part of your regular routine, consider ways to fine-tune your budget.
Research shows that only 41% of the country's adults have enough savings to pay for a $1,000 emergency—but 28% of American adults had an emergency expense averaging $3,518 in the past year.
When it comes to debt management, experts suggest paying down high-interest loans first. Online resources can help you identify additional debt payoff strategies and timing as well as tips and tricks to make the process easier.
With those goals met, you're free to focus your financial attention on retirement—an area where many adults' understanding starts to get a little fuzzy.
There are online resources available for determining the type of retirement account that's right for you—like the traditional IRA or Roth 401(k). Using a retirement calculator can help you determine a retirement savings goal and can help ensure you're on the right track.
Put it all into action
From there, it's about sharing what you know. With these financial lessons in mind, it's time to talk to others (including your kids) about managing finances and being good stewards of their money.
Half of the country's parents aren't talking to their kids about money. But there are financial lessons to be learned at any age. Check out some ideas to get the conversation started here.