Pay it forward: put financial literacy on your checklist for 2011

By Amy Johnson, senior manager, public relations

iStock_000015376854SmallApril is national Financial Literacy Month. It’s a reason to remind people to pay more attention to their personal financial health. Not just for 30 days but every day of the year.

You only have to browse the daily paper or online news to know that Americans are in serious need of financial guidance.

The New York Times reported this week that in 2010, student loan debt outpaced credit card debt for the first time.

A February study by Bankrate.com found nearly one out of four Americans (23%) have greater credit card debt than emergency savings and one in three of these are in the 30 – 49 age group.

Some of these statistics can be attributed to peoples’ poor choices. But how much more of it is really owing to the economic crisis far beyond any one person’s control? Too many Ohioans were simply caught in the crossfire and are trying hard to recover.

How can CPA’s help?

By sharing your expertise to help people move the needle in the right direction. That could mean speaking to a group of baby boomers at your church about estate tax changes, counseling someone on debt management or reduction, or helping a neighbor explore college financing options.

OSCPA has a wealth of tools CPAs can use to jump start your formal or informal financial education outreach efforts.

The Proud 2B a CPA Marketing toolkit can guide you through promoting yourself as a local speaker and becoming an expert financial resource for local media. It includes a client-ready quarterly newsletter and PowerPoint presentations that you can download and use immediately.

If you just want to point people to resources they can use on their own, Financial Fitness Ohio, a joint initiative of OSCPA and The Ohio CPA Foundation, offers timely articles, financial calculators and resources on lots of financial topics for the public.

MyMoney.gov is a consumer-friendly site that consolidates financial education help from over 20 different Federal websites in one place.

Check off for Financial Literacy

Helping kids grow into financially responsible adults is a passion and a goal at OSCPA. This November, CPAs will once again teach FETCH! in elementary classrooms across Ohio. This fun game teaches kids how to budget, spend wisely and save.

You can help be part of this fun event. We will be recruiting new volunteer teams this summer. To sponsor a FETCH! class, check off Yes for Fetch! when OSCPA members renew their dues in May, or anyone can donate now.

Pay it forward

Your credibility and experience as a financial expert is invaluable. But so is your list of personal contacts. Tapping it is an easy way to help others that doesn’t require a huge investment of personal time.

Throughout April, a friend of mine is inviting Facebook friends to contact him if they need a job, have a job to fill, or are looking for a particular service for their personal or professional needs. In two days, he gave out four business referrals and helped 2 people land jobs simply by connecting his friends and business contacts.

Sometimes paying it forward pays huge dividends in helping people to improve their financial situation. Make April the month you put financial literacy on your priority check list.

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4 Responses to Pay it forward: put financial literacy on your checklist for 2011

  1. […] Pay it forward: put financial literacy on your checklist for 2011 … […]

  2. Amy,

    I’m glad to see the Ohio Society of CPAs is really pushing financial literacy. I’m a NYS CPA and each year I teach 5 or 6 classes in fin lit at a NYC high school. It’s always a great day so I encourage your members to get out there and participate.

    Jay

    • Amy Johnson says:

      Jay,
      Thanks for the comment and glad you are doing your own financial literacy outreach in NYC. Our members who participate in similar programs love it and we all know it’s critically important to teach tomorrow’s adults how to manage their money.

  3. michael f mccarthy says:

    We’ll be paying $5/gallon for gas by this Summer. Tax receipts and bond sales are not enough to pay for Trillions of dollars in Stimulus Spending; so, the Federal Reserve has to print money in order to buy the bond debt. Oil buyers (like the refineries) have to use more of these devalued dollars to pay oil producers (like OPEC) for the same amount of oil. Over the next 18 to 24 months all the products made from oil will cost more. When we spend more on gas, we have less money for other consumer goods; and, when fewer products are sold, producers have lower profit for dividends, salaries and taxes. The only way to stop this transfer of wealth is to cut the size, cost and power of government. Yet, in several weeks, Congress will vote to spend, borrow and devalue a Trillion more dollars in exchange for promises to cut the budget. These compromises benefit crony capitalists with political connections and burden empolyers with more health care, payroll, property, sales and income taxes. We need real change! Urge your congressman and senators to reorganize government so that essential, national services remain federal responsibilities; and, duplicate, domestic programs are handled by the states and localities. Take the money and the power from bureaucratic czars and give it to the public officials who administer the programs. Advocate Real Change!

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