Although Financial Literacy Month is coming to an end, I encourage families across Iowa to take the lessons learned over the last few weeks and put them into practice for a lifetime. Financial education is not contained to a classroom, age or place in life; it’s acquired through learning, asking and engaging at all stages.
A Message from State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald
A solid financial foundation can be built at a young age, and this summer offers the perfect opportunity to begin. Take some time between ball games and barbecues to incorporate financial lessons at home. Give your child an allowance and a piggy bank to encourage saving for a special toy or trip. Already have a piggy bank? Set up another and explain why it’s important to have more than one savings account and how to distinguish needs versus wants. Inspire your kids to become entrepreneurs by opening a neighborhood lemonade stand. You can turn a simple craft and cooking project into a budding business, and teach the value of hard-earned money at the same time!
For those long car rides and airplane flights, check out one of the many mobile apps included on my office’s website. Visit IowaTreasurer.gov, click on the “For Citizens” tab and select “Financial Education and Empowerment.” In addition to a financial reading list and informative websites, we list various online games and downloadable apps for all ages. Younger children may enjoy the money counter, with activities showing the value of coins and how to count and sort, as well as fun facts about U.S. currency. A simulation game allowing pre-teens to choose a career, earn money and spend in a virtual world incorporates the realities of credit cards, bankruptcy, insurance, mortgages and taxes, among others. There are even a few apps for older students, such as a social media platform where members can track their spending habits through pictures, emojis and hashtags, and a prom planning app that will help high schoolers budget for the big event.
Adults can also benefit from a financial-themed phone app. Money calculators allow users to estimate and assess financial choices, receive tips about desired financial tracks and get recommendations on how to reach financial goals. At the end of the summer, everyone in the family can be a little more financially fit than they were at the beginning.
I appreciate you taking the time to celebrate Financial Literacy Month with me this year. Remember: it’s never too early or too late to become empowered through financial education.
Michael L. Fitzgerald
Treasurer of State