5 Financial Literacy Tools and Resources for Financial Literacy Month
By: Marissa Anema, NJCUL Vice President, Marketing and Communications & NJ CU Foundation Executive Director

April showers bring May flowers…and also a renewed dedication to helping our communities build a stronger financial future. It’s Financial Literacy Month! National Financial Literacy Month is recognized in the United States in April in an effort to highlight the importance of financial literacy and teach Americans how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits. In Credit Union World…it’s Financial Literacy Month every month, of course. So in anticipation of what I like to call a “renewed” dedication to something we’re already doing on a day-to-day basis to help our members and communities, I’ve gathered up five ways you can up your financial literacy game during Financial Literacy Month and beyond!

#1 Join the NJCFE for a Free Webinar and/or Financial Literacy Training
A partner of the New Jersey Credit Union Foundation, the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education (NJCFE) teaches personal finance to people of all ages. They host FREE monthly webinars on a range of financial topics, including but not limited to borrowing basics on March 27, financial wellness (how to define it, measure it, and achieve it) on April 25, and more in the coming months. They also host financial literacy bootcamps packed with games, presentations, and discussions about teaching financial literacy in high schools and colleges. More info on their 2019 bootcamps is coming soon.

For more information and to sign-up to receive notifications for their upcoming events, visit www.njcfe.org.April Financial Literacy Month

#2 Sign-Up for Next Gen Personal Finance Emails
At one of the NJCFE’s bootcamps I attended last year, I learned about an amazing organization that provides personal finance curriculum, games and simulations, projects, case studies…the list goes on and on. Next Gen Personal Finance is meant for educators, but members of the community (like credit unions) that teach financial literacy in their areas can sign-up for a free teacher account and receive emails with reading lists, blog articles, the “question of the day,” and ton of other content you can share on social media, intergrate into your own counseling and outreach, and more.

#3 Become a Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor at a Discounted Price
The New Jersey Credit Union Foundation has partnered with the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and CUdifference to give New Jersey credit unions the opportunity to affordably have their staff trained and certified as financial counselors through CUNA’s Financial Counselor Certification Program (FiCEP) program at a discounted rate. 

When a staff member successfully completes the program and proctored exams, they will be a Certified Credit Union Certified Financial Counselor ready and able to assist credit union members reach their financial goals. It's also a great certification to have if you work with schools and community organizations, and/or participate in the Reality Fairs program.

The program runs from late May through October. The deadline to register is April 22nd…so sign-up during Financial Literacy Month and become certified to help members and potential members improve their financial wellbeing in the future!

#4 Join the National Youth Involvement Board
The National Youth Involvement Board (NYIB) is a GOD SEND for me. It’s a one-stop-shop to learn about youth savings programs, discover financial education resources, showcase your individual accomplishments, and collaborate with your peers. It maintains youth marketing, education, and financial resources, and more…all for FREE.

Register on their Web site and gain access to these resources and more. AND you can report your youth financial education efforts. I report all of Reality Fairs the Foundation conducts in collaboration with New Jersey credit unions. NYIB has honored the Reality Fair program with two awards for our efforts!

They also hold an informative conference each year created just for credit union professionals. From student branches, youth accounts, exploring tech trends, community outreach, to financial education resources for ALL ages…the conference covers it all in three fun, informative, immersive days. The 2019 NYIB Conference is July 22nd to July 25th in Washington, DC. It won’t disappoint!

#5 Volunteer for a Reality Fair
Our program keeps growing and growing, reaching thousands of students each school year, winning awards, being recognized by politicians…but we need volunteers! Volunteers are what keep this program going. Please consider donating some of your time to an upcoming event.

Contact myself, Marissa Anema, to volunteer for an upcoming Fair listed below:

   March 27, 2019 – Millville Senior High School Sponsored by Thunderbolt Area FCU (Millville) 

   April 3, 2019 – Holy Spirit High School Sponsored by Jersey Shore FCU (Absecon

   April 9, 2019 – Ocean County College Sponsored by NJ CU Foundation (Toms River)
 

   April 12, 2019 – Rutgers University Sponsored by Rutgers FCU (Busch Campus)

   April 16, 2019 – Veteran's Memorial Intermediate School Sponsored by Bay Atlantic FCU (Vineland) 

   May 9, 2019 –  Bridgeton High School Sponsored by Members 1st of NJ FCU (Bridgeton) 

   May 15, 2019 – Cumberland Regional High School Sponsored by Members 1st of NJ FCU (Bridgeton) 

   May 22, 2019 – Woodstown High School Sponsored by Thunderbolt Area FCU (Woodstown) 

   May 29, 2019 – Hanover Park High School Sponsored by Visions FCU (East Hanover) 

   June 4, 2019 – Ramapo High School Sponsored by Visions FCU (Franklin Lakes) 

   June 11, 2019 – Wallace School Sponsored by Bay Atlantic FCU (Vineland)