chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
June 11, 2024 View from the Chair

TIPS Celebrates National Financial Literacy Month

Loren D. Podwill

April 2024 marked the 21st anniversary of National Financial Literacy Month. In 2003, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution officially designating April as Financial Literacy Month to raise awareness of the importance of financial education and the consequences of a lack of knowledge about personal finances. President Obama issued a proclamation in March 2017 highlighting the importance of being financially capable and declaring April as National Financial Capability Month.

Financial literacy is a crucial life skill that empowers individuals and communities to achieve greater economic independence, build financial security, and break the poverty cycle. However, for many marginalized communities, access to financial education and resources has historically been limited. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the national poverty rate declined from 2010 to 2019. However, the pandemic changed everything. The lockdown exposed the most vulnerable populations to uneven economic recovery. Underserved communities had little or no financial buffer, and the pandemic exacerbated the problem. Currently, 78% of Americans reportedly live paycheck to paycheck.

In 2021, members of the TIPS Law in Public Service Committee (LIPS) became increasingly aware of and concerned about the financial impact of the pandemic on vulnerable populations. Research disclosed the uneven impact and recovery from the financial consequences of the pandemic on historically underserved communities and youth populations. With the support of the TIPS officers and Council, the Financial Literacy Project (FLP) was born. A partnership between TIPS and its premier sponsor, Thomson Reuters, the FLP is a free online curriculum comprised of short, educational video modules aimed to help equip and empower individuals and communities to achieve sustained financial well-being. The goal of the FLP is to promote economic empowerment by providing individuals with the knowledge and tools needed to own their financial future.

The FLP includes a series of videos presented by lawyers and other professionals with expertise in various substantive areas covering a range of topics, including budgeting, banking, tax preparation, buying a car, home ownership, saving for post-secondary education, debt management, and financial planning. Currently, there are 19 completed online modules, with many more in various stages of production. The curriculum can be accessed through the websites of ABA TIPS and Thomson Reuters FindLaw.com.

To enhance distribution of the FLP modules, creating partnerships with community partners is next on the project to-do list. To that end, we have been in communication with the National Urban League (NUL) about joining TIPS and Thomson Reuters as a community partner. The NUL is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment, equality, and social justice. Founded in 1910 and with affiliates serving 300 communities in 37 states and the District of Columbia, the NUL spearheads the development of social programs and advocates for policies and services that close the equality gap. The NUL and its affiliates provide direct services and improve the lives of more than two million people annually. We are optimistic that the NUL will join us soon. The FLP will also be seeking additional community partners, the goal of which is to disseminate and make available the FLP modules to as many people as possible.

Please help us promote the project with your network, including youth groups, nonprofits, financial institutions, state and local bar associations, and any other groups you believe could help disseminate the FLP modules. Help us get the word out by using the hashtag #financialliteracy. Retweet, reshare, and repost our social media as well as sharing the link to the FLP with your contacts. View the main FindLaw FLP page at www.findlaw.com/flp and on the TIPS website at www.americanbar.org/groups/tort_trial_insurance_practice/resources.

Many TIPS and Thomson Reuters volunteers have been integral to the FLP. With apologies to others not listed, I want to personally acknowledge and thank TIPS members Akira Heshiki, Jordan Howlette, Floyd Holloway, Roscoe Mutz, Tamara Tomomitsu, Reign Karpe, Candace Chuck, Jin Hwang, Mark Gilcreast, and Lisa Dickinson for their tireless work on this project. Thanks also to Thomson Reuters representatives Joe Kubes, Sharon Belton, and Helen Repass, and TIPS staff Norma Campos, Theresa Livingston, and Guysheena Gibson. Finally, thanks for the unwavering support of the TIPS Council and past and future TIPS Chairs John McMeekin, Gary Gassman, Chris Nolan, Marcy Greer, and Meade Mitchell.

The FLP is built around the belief that: “Empowering ourselves changes our lives. Empowering others changes our communities.” Please join us in our mission and support the FLP and financial literacy nationwide. Thank you.

Entity:
Topic:
The material in all ABA publications is copyrighted and may be reprinted by permission only. Request reprint permission here.

Chair, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section