Ann Baksh, AVP, Branch Customer Service Manager
Our team at Waterford Bank joins the rest of the country to celebrate Financial Literacy Month this April. As such, we are encouraging customers to take control of their financial future by learning fiscally responsible habits and putting these lessons into practice.
Surprising Financial Literacy Statistics
It may surprise you to learn that only 21 states in the U.S. require high school students to take a course in personal finance, according to the Council for Economic Education’s 2020 Survey of the States.
Our bankers are committed to bringing financial education to our local schools across the marketplaces we serve year round.
While some have had the benefit of financial education as part of their schooling, a study by the U.S. Financial Literacy and Education Commission finds only one-third of adults can answer at least four of five fundamental financial literacy questions. Meanwhile, 78 percent of U.S. adults believe that despite what they already know about personal finance, they could still benefit from financial guidance from a professional.
Enhancing Your Financial Literacy
No matter where you are in your personal financial journey, building a strong foundation of banking best practices for money management will help you avoid potential pitfalls and set you up for financial success.
Often referred to as America’s favorite lenders, community banks, like Waterford, are financial experts with a wealth of knowledge and local expertise that make them uniquely suited to help you reach your financial potential. This Financial Literacy Month we offer these simply, yet practical tips to help you achieve your picture of success.
- Be SMART – Set Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Trackable goals. Choose your priorities—whether it’s saving for a computer or building an emergency fund—and make sure they are achievable. Then, create a plan of action and measure your progress over time.
- Budget – to help you track income and expenses and build a plan to manage your finances, reach your financial goals, and create a nest egg. Check out this free budget worksheet from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- Save – open a savings account to create some distance between everyday spending money, kept in your checking account, and cash that’s meant for a later date, like an emergency or a vacation.
- Establish Credit – learn to establish and maintain good credit so you can reap the benefit from this convenient and flexible form of payment without the consequences of mismanagement. Read our blog on building credit to learn more.
- Understand Debt – The sum total of all the money you owe is what’s commonly known as your debt load. To determine whether your load is more than you can afford, you’ll want to calculate your debt/income ratio by comparing the amount you owe to the amount you earn each month.
Financial Literacy Programs
Knowledge is power and in the case of financial literacy, it can put you on the path to financial security and generational wealth that builds stronger communities. Community banks offer important savings products and services to help fulfill financial goals at every age and life stage—whether saving for a car, or continuing education, funding a down payment or small business, or planning for a vacation or retirement.
No matter what stage you’re at, we’re here to help you navigate the financial landscape with confidence. Start a new relationship with us or reach out directly to your banker and we look forward to helping you.
From the classroom to the office, no matter where you are in your financial journey, we will be here to help.
You can also check out these additional online resources from the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) including their Practical Money Skills Page, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Money Smart Initiatives and the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.
About the Author
Ann Baksh is a, Assistant Vice President and Branch Customer Service Manager at Waterford Bank, N.A. in Toledo, Ohio. She is passionate about providing 5-star customer service and exceeding her clients banking needs. If you’d like to boost your financial literacy or have a quick banking question, please contact us here.