Perspectives from Our Michigan Bank
The economic downturn caused by COVID-19 has created a storm of financial stress for many Americans. Unemployment claims reached 16.3 million in July, representing an 10.2% unemployment rate, an improvement over the national shut-down, but still higher than early 2020. Unfortunately, the swift decline since February put a glaring spotlight on a sobering reality: many people don’t have the financial understanding they need to survive a disaster.
Financial literacy is knowing how to effectively manage your finances and make sound decisions about your money. A recent survey from the TIAA Institute (a division of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America) shows that only 52% of Americans correctly answered questions about their finances. Younger adults struggled more, with only 41% of those born between 1996 and 2010 able to answer questions about budgeting, saving, investing, and borrowing.
Improving your skills and teaching your children about financial literacy equips you with the tools you need to achieve financial security and collectively advance the economy.
Why Financial Literacy is Important
The concepts of managing your money are essential to your financial well-being. Becoming more knowledgeable about finances is valuable for several reasons:
- You’re now responsible for your financial health, as companies shed pension plans and retirement services. Understanding 401K plans and investment choices need to become part of your skillset.
- Savings opportunities are more complicated, with products that range from Certificates of Deposit to Individual Retirement Accounts. Each offers varying rates of return and maturity dates for you to evaluate as you make decisions.
- The financial landscape can change quickly, requiring you to quickly (and wisely) adjust your plans to stay on course toward your goals.
- You have more choices as banks in Michigan, financial advisors, credit card companies, mortgage firms, and insurance companies compete for your attention. Financial literacy will help you choose partners and services that align with your needs.
With strong financial skills, you and your children will understand how to:
- establish and follow a budget for managing your money
- minimize the expense of debt by choosing credit cards or loans with lower interest rates
- build a strong credit rating by paying debts on time
- create an emergency savings fund to carry you through downturns
- protect your accounts and personal financial information
- plan for life's milestones like college, homeownership, and retirement
Ways to Improve Your Financial Literacy with Help from Our Michigan Bank
Learning about financial topics and becoming more financially resilient is within your control. Fortunately, there are tools available to help you.
- Banks, including Level One Bank in Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Detroit, and across Michigan, offer financial literacy programs.
- Many also have online resources to educate you about keeping your money and personal information secure.
- E-service technologies are available to support daily money management.
- You can also contact your local branch and set up a time to discuss your questions.
You also have access to online educational resources such as:
For more information about Level One Bank's products and services that support financial literacy, contact us today!
“At base, financial literacy is inextricably connected to control over one’s future.” – Ann Cotton
Level One Bank is not an affiliate of the educational resources listed above and does not endorse any specific online educational resource.