by Brenda Campbell, President and CEO, Make A Difference – Wisconsin

Financial literacy is definitely a form of intelligence that travels. Lately, on both a personal and national level, the pace of interest on financial literacy seems ready to set a land-speed record.

April is National Financial Literacy Month, which dates back to the early 2000s on the success of a youth financial awareness day started by the National Endowment for Financial Education. This year, President Obama also piled on recognition and resources of April as National Financial Capability Month, a nuanced but important distinction. From April 23-30, there’s also Money Smart Week, a mapped-out burst of educational resources for adults, children and seniors. There have been famous authors sharing their financial stories and teenage music phenoms like the HSRA student pictured at left putting the message to a hip hop beat (which we were proud to contribute to with the support of StateFarm and collaboration with Junior Achievement). And, without fail, April brings us that most reliable financial reminder of all: taxes.

Among the financial focused events this month, the Institute for Financial Literacy will hold its 11th annual Conference on Financial Education in Orlando, Fla. I am privileged to speak at this year’s conference, where I’ll present two topics on the success Make A Difference – Wisconsin has found in assessments and volunteer recruitment, respectively. What encourages me most about this speaking opportunity is the transferable quality of solid, measurable impact when it comes to teen financial education. There is a real hunger from educators and organizations to provide these skills. And, when given the opportunity, students and communities have shown the power of change that can come from newfound financial empowerment.

From this expanse of national attention on getting smarter about money, it’s important that we harness these talking points and keep the attention on improved financial capabilities for all. Because for all the improvements being made in Wisconsin and nationwide, all of us have a long, long way to go, as I was reminded recently in this striking infographic from Financial Fitness Group. The good news? Improving financial literacy is a movement that travels – and is picking up steam.

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