By Amy Johnson, senior manager, public relations
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.