Olympia – The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and Governor Jay Inslee recognize April as Financial Capability Month 2021. The President of the United States also recognizes April as Financial Capability Month, as do many national organizations. In addition to the webinars and online presentations staff conducts, DFI partners with state and national organizations and agencies to support financial education outreach efforts for Washington residents of all ages.
"At DFI, we recognize the importance of financial capability for consumers," DFI Director Charlie Clark said. "The more consumers know, the more questions they'll ask. Financial knowledge will hopefully make it less likely for Washingtonians to fall victim to financial fraud and will help individuals build financial resiliency to help weather tough times."
We are stronger when we work together, and DFI recognizes the power of partnership. Therefore, DFI is happy to share the events, webinars, workshops and information from our many partners in an effort to get more information into the hands of more people.
The Jump$tart Washington Coalition will host their annual Membership Meet & Greet online again this year, Wednesday, April 14 from 5:30-7 p.m. In addition to getting to know more about Jump$tart, attendees will hear from Bolun Li, the Creator and CEO behind the Zogo financial education application and from Tony Leahy about the updated CENTS DebtSlapped Loan Awareness Program.
Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89508612691?pwd=Vnp4Vmp1NDFFekRqNDFka0JvWTV1dz09
Meeting ID: 895 0861 2691
Every year, Your Money Matters Mentoring (YMMM) hosts a gala to help maintain and expand their programming in empowering and educating BIPOC youth and young adults in financial literacy. This year, due to the ongoing pandemic, the event is virtual and will be a week-long celebration April 26-30! YMMM program offers classes and hands-on experiences that help students take charge of their financial future. With unique one on one mentoring, YMMM is able to provide students with additional guidance and assist in creating a personalized map for their financial journeys. Join the event and find out how you can help by becoming a Bridge Builder!
Financial Beginnings Washington is coordinating a host of webinars for Financial Capability Month https://financialbeginnings.org/financial-literacy-month/
The annual Financial Literacy Conference is a virtual speaker series this year, offering nine informative sessions, all free. This lineup highlights the critical importance of financial literacy. Sign up now to learn more in these curated sessions listed below, each featuring experts! Learn more at Conferences | Financial Beginnings (finbegwa.org)
- The History of Racism in Finance
- Current Landscape of Expanded Learning Opportunities
- Financial Empowerment for Survivors of Domestic Violence/Trauma Informed Approach
- Forget College, Go to Trade School: An Argument for the Trades
- The Need for Financial Literacy in Special Education
- Identity Theft and Fraud Prevention
- New & Improved Foundations Program: Connecting with Students
- (Spanish) The Purchase of Your First Home & How to Protect It
- How Do Financial Institutions Build Community?
Junior Achievement of Washington is partnering with both Gesa Credit Union and Harborstone Credit Union this month to deliver exciting webinars based on JA financial literacy programs! Check the links - there are several dates and times for a variety of age groups!
The national campaign Money Smart Week will be entirely virtual this year. The online campaign will begin Saturday, April 10 and run through Saturday, April 17, 2021. This weeklong free virtual campaign aims to help people better manage their personal finances with a focus on those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s line-up includes the following daily themes:
- Saturday, April 10 @ 8:00 a.m. | Talking Cents (The University of Chicago Financial Education Initiative)
- Sunday, April 11 @ 8:00 a.m. | Saving (FINRA Investor Education Foundation)
- Monday, April 12 @ 10:00 a.m. | Basic Banking (The Economic Awareness Council)
- Tuesday, April 13 @ 10:30 a.m. | Student Loans (U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid)
- Wednesday, April 14 @ 11:00 a.m. | Fraud Protection (Internal Revenue Service)
- Thursday, April 15 @ 10:00 a.m. | Personal Finance (Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center)
- Friday, April 16 @ 10:00 a.m. | Housing Protections + Resources (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)
- Saturday, April 17 @ 8:30 a.m. | Budgeting (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension)
Events are free and open to the public, but registration is advised. Questions for the panelists can be submitted during the registration process.
National Retirement Planning Week is April 13-17 The Financial Industry Regulatory Association (FINRA) website provides a wealth of information about saving for retirement including retirement and life expectancy calculators. https://www.finra.org/investors/insights/plan-retirement. Are YOU ready for retirement? Don't forget Washington's Retirement Marketplace, while you're thinking about retirement. They have options for employees and employers. Be sure to check it out!
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) offers consumers a host of information at Investor.gov.
Among some of the SEC’s latest resources to teach the importance of financial literacy and provide tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of investment fraud:
- An investor alert explaining the detrimental effects of investing in the latest “hot stock” based on social media.
- How to look out for Coronavirus-related investment scams attempting to lure investors with phony claims about a company’s products or services to help stop the outbreak, and how to be wary of unscrupulous promoters encouraging investors to make COVID-related withdrawals from their retirement accounts not for current emergency needs but to buy riskier investments. It’s also important to understand that social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic or otherwise can contribute to the financial exploitation of older investors.
- An investor alert cautioning not to make investment decisions related to SPACs based solely on celebrity involvement.
- A look at various frauds targeting Main Street investors and how to spot the red flags.
- First-time investor? Here’s how to get started.
The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) provides a variety of consumer education resources, including the Real Life Regulators Podcast - which tells the stories of actual investor fraud cases and how consumers can avoid becoming victims.
NASAA also offers informational videos https://www.nasaa.org/investor-education/multimedia-library/nasaa-videos/ as well as a list of the most common current investor threats.
NASAA also has an online quiz to help consumers determine their risk of becoming an investment fraud victim.
NASAA's social media team also shared a few targeted resources relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic and financial literacy: