Since 2004, April has been designated by congress as “Financial Literacy Month” to “raise public awareness about the importance of personal financial education in the United States – and the serious consequences that may result from a lack of understanding about personal finances.” In response, educators, non-profit groups, and government agencies have developed a variety of resources that help educate individuals of all ages and families of all sizes improve their financial knowledge. Of course, personal finance is an important topic year-around, so here are some great sites to check out to help you take control of your money.
How to Get Your Free Credit Report
The Federal Trade Commission (FDC) explains how the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to provide consumers with a free copy of their credit report, upon request, every 12 months.
Purposefully written in very simple language, this website developed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers the basics of understanding money, credit, banking, scams, and more.
FDIC’s Money Smart Computer-Based Instruction
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is best known for insuring bank accounts. However, this office also provides financial education resources that help adults and young adults make informed financial decisions and take charge of their finances. Useful topics covered on this site include the basics of borrowing money wisely, using a spending plan to achieve financial goals, and how to use banking products effectively.
The Lifeline Discount Telephone Service
The Lifeline Discount Telephone Service Program is designed to make telephone service more affordable for income-eligible consumers. Consumers qualify for Lifeline by participating in certain federal or state assistance programs or by having income at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.
A comprehensive personal finance website sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Education categories include: Scam Watch, Credit Cards, Managing Your Money, Dealing with Debt, Your Home, and Jobs. Bulk orders of materials are available.
MyMoney.Gov: Calculators, Worksheets, and Checklists
This website helps consumers locate and use online calculators, budget worksheets, planning checklists and other helpful financial planning aids that are available free of charge from the federal government. For easy navigation, the site is organized around the “My Money Five Principles” which are: Earn, Save & Invest, Protect, Spend, and Borrow.
Subscribe to a monthly e-newsletter called Penn Corner published by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that highlights the work the they are doing in regards to consumer protection and features free resources to help you avoid fraud.
U.S. Department of Education: Financial Aid
This site gives parents and college-bound students information on finding and applying for student loans and grants, and tips for repaying them.
Buying a Home
A toolkit with general and state-specific information about topics regarding home buying. The website provides free resources to guide consumers through the nine key steps to buying a home.
Owning a Home: Tools and Resources for Homebuyers
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a U.S. government agency that makes sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat you fairly. At this site, the CFPB offers advice and tools that help consumers prepare to shop for a home. This is the place to explore loan choices, compare loan offers, and find out how to make the closing.
This toolkit includes a list of publications and interactive tools to help in planning, plus information on how to contact the three federal agencies involved in key elements of retirement planning and security (Department of Labor, Social Security Administration, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) with specific questions.
Taking the Mystery Out of Retirement Planning
This online version of Taking the Mystery Out of Retirement Planning includes interactive worksheets that you complete as you read each chapter. You can download the fully-illustrated 62-page PDF narrative or call 1-866-444-3272 to order copies. Also available in Spanish.
Looking for more resources? Check out our Financial Literacy guide. Compiled by CEFLS staff, this page has resources from all around the Internet, through the various information guides offered by CEFLS and member libraries, books, ebooks, and e-magazines.