Thought Leadership Thursday
The Empowerment of Financial Literacy
Thought Leadership Thursday Article
As you know, April is National Financial Literacy Month, a month where we as financial ambassadors and champions drive awareness for financial literacy and the need for impactful financial education in our states. I have long been committed to expanding financial literacy in Kentucky, and this April I look forward to new opportunities that will spark meaningful conversations with our families and youth with my first Treasurer’s Financial Bee Challenge.
The Treasurer’s Financial Bee Challenge, sponsored in conjunction with the Kentucky Financial Empowerment Commission and presented by Everfi, is similar to a financial literacy challenge I held for Kentucky middle and high school students last summer which included the potential to win a $5,000 college scholarship. Our Treasurer’s Summer Challenge was a huge success. My team and I worked hard to raise awareness through community outreach, partnerships, a social media campaign, and earned media to reach Kentuckians in every corner of our state. I was thrilled to see more than 1,700 students from across Kentucky participate in the month-long challenge and the National winner, along with 2nd and 3rd places, all hailed from our Commonwealth.
There has never been a greater time to roll up our sleeves and work to make effective, lasting change in our constituents’ lives with financial empowerment. The pandemic has closed many small businesses, disproportionately forced mothers out of the workforce, and decimated the service industry, with no signs of a true return to normal in the near future. Americans need financial education as they weather these storms.
COVID-19 forced us to rethink the way adults and students receive information, necessitating moves to digital platforms. Through the Summer Challenge, I found that we could connect with students through short, interactive financial literacy lessons. These lessons offered students a sense of community, ownership, education, and healthy competition. This month’s Financial Bee will impart those same opportunities.
The brief lessons cover everything from how to save to how to manage debt. Ultimately, they drive conversations in families and communities as students talk about the information they receive through the program. With a final essay due as entry for a chance at the college scholarship, students come away with a new awareness of everyday financial tools they can use in their everyday lives and futures.
Starting financial literacy at a young age has lasting impacts throughout a person’s life. We have an opportunity to reach our youth and create a place where, possibly for the first time, they are considering the true value of a dollar or thinking about responsible spending.
I am passionate about empowering Kentuckians by expanding financial literacy. Financial literacy directly relates to issues like hunger, education, substance abuse, and more. The devastating losses felt by COVID-19’s impact only magnify those hardships. Kentucky is not alone in our struggle to recover from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
As Treasurers, we must carry the torch in these uncertain times and shine light on the reachable goal of achieving financial security and independence through financial literacy.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with further questions about these programs.
State Treasurer, Kentucky
Vice Chair, NAST Financial Education and Empowerment Committee