Happy April – or, as those of us in the financial content biz call it, National Financial Literacy Month!
If you’re a financial marketer, advisor or blogger, you’ve probably heard that the month of April is dedicated to increasing our country’s collective financial IQ – which makes it a great time to create content about personal finance topics.
So what should you blog about? Consider this your one-stop shop to learn all about Financial Literacy Month and the fin lit topics your audience wants to see.
What is Financial Literacy Month?
Unlike other, more dubious “holidays,” National Financial Literacy Month is actually a legitimate, government-sanctioned affair. In 2004, the Senate passed Resolution 316, recognizing April as National Financial Literacy Month to “raise public awareness about the importance of personal financial education in the United States and the serious consequences that may result from a lack of understanding about personal finances.”
Fun fact: the Senate votes on this every year, and apparently last year’s Resolution wasn’t passed until two-thirds of the way through April. Fortunately, this didn’t seem to delay any essential Financial Literacy Month festivities scheduled earlier in the month (I guess we’re doing this thing whether Congress is onboard or not).
What are financial literacy topics?
Wikipedia defines ‘financial literacy’ as “the possession of the set of skills and knowledge that allows an individual to make informed and effective decisions with all of their financial resources.”
So basically, anything that helps people make smarter money moves is on the list.
Some typical financial literacy topics include:
- Saving money (emergency savings, major purchases, retirement)
- Budgeting and spending (methods, best practices, psychology)
- Debt management (refinancing, becoming debt-free, understanding credit products)
- College planning (scholarships, student loans, student budgeting)
- Investing (stock market mechanics, investment product expertise, asset allocation)
- Credit health (improving and understanding credit score)
- Risk management (insurance and identity theft)
Why is it important to be financially literate?
Because Americans struggle with financial literacy – and it’s messing with our lives. For example:
- Savings. Only 46 percent of Americans have a “rainy day fund” (FINRA), while two-thirds of Americans would be unable to come up with $1,000 in an emergency (Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research).
- Banking. Approximately 26.9 percent of households in the United States are unbanked or underbanked, meaning they have no access to savings, lending, and other basic financial services (FDIC).
- Debt. Nearly one-third of Americans pay the minimum due on their credit card each month (FINRA), while roughly 35 percent of adults with a credit file have a report of debt in collections (Urban Institute).
- Knowledge. 63 percent of Americans are unable to answer three out of five basic personal finance questions correctly (FINRA), while only 24 percent of millennials demonstrate basic financial literacy (National Endowment for Financial Education).
Americans need help, and financial marketers, advisors and bloggers (like you!) are uniquely qualified to give it to them.
What happens during Financial Literacy Month?
A Google search of “financial literacy month events” will probably reveal some local workshops and meet-ups, as well as a plethora of online activities and, of course, blog posts, articles, quizzes and other content on the topics listed above.
In other words, stuff you should be creating!
So what are you going to blog about? We’ve lined up 5 financial literacy topics that will engage your audience, increase your credibility and leverage this month’s slightly higher interest in all things personal finance.
Topic #1: The Benefits of Financial Literacy
- Let’s face it: “financial literacy” sounds . . . boring. What doesn’t sound boring is all the cool stuff you can achieve when you’re financially literate – like saving enough money to quit your job and retire early.
- The internet is chock full of stories from the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement, and they are all fascinating and motivating in their own ways.
- Our advice? Interview one of these people for your blog! It doesn’t matter if they’ve used your product or service – just focus on how inspiring their story is and show your audience what’s possible when you flex your financially literate muscles.
Financial Independence Without Ever Writing a Budget (43 Blue Doors)
Topic #2: Financial Literacy 101
- Going back to basics may not be the sexiest angle, but it could be the most helpful for your target audience (see: scary stats above).
- Use your blog to define important terms (e.g., APR vs interest rate), or create videos that walk through key concepts (e.g., how ETFs work).
- Remember: basic shouldn’t mean boring. Make it funny, heartwarming, emotional – in other words, human.
In Honor of Financial Literacy Month, Back to Basics (Free From Broke)
Topic #3: Female Financial Empowerment
- It’s fitting that Financial Literacy Month and Equal Pay Day are both in April, given the fact that the gender pay gap is one of the biggest deterrents to female financial empowerment.
- There are a lot of relevant stats out there about how women lack investing confidence and have less access to retirement accounts than men – but also are better investors when they get the chance.
- This is yet another opportunity to appeal to the emotional side of your audience. The goal is not to school women on financial topics – it’s to give them the support they need to overcome significant headwinds.
(Financial) Security Throughout the Ages (Femme Frugality)
Topic #4: Financial Literacy Listicle
- At SuperScript, we love a good listicle – and this topic is ripe for the listing.
- Google “financial tips,” and you’ll find a dozen examples of blogs that provide between 7 and 50 pieces of financial advice. Try your hand at 60 and you might just top that list of listicles!
- You can also customize your list for a specific audience, for example, small businesses, millennials or whoever fits your target audience.
5 Things I Did to Become Financially Empowered (The Butler Journal)
Topic #5: Financial Literacy Quiz
- People. Love. Quizzes. Whether discovering their spirit animal or testing their knowledge of 90s sitcom characters, it would take a really bad quiz to not stop someone in their Facebook scrolling tracks.
- Marketers. Love. Quizzes. Probably because they’re super engaging and easy to create. You probably have 10 old blog posts you could tap for a financial literacy quiz right now.
- If your blog is on WordPress, there are plenty of quiz plugins to choose from. Or check out Outgrow, a quiz tool that’s designed for lead generation.
Can You Ace This Financial Literacy Quiz? (Bankrate)
What’s your favorite financial literacy topic? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add it to the list!