The NCSL Blog


By Heather Morton

Financial education and literacy focus on the specific knowledge and concepts consumers need to manage their money and build wealth, depending on an individual’s situation.

financial literacy graphicIt may mean learning how to create and manage a household budget, learning how to invest money for retirement, or participating in one-on-one coaching and counseling to determine how to buy a house or start a business. It also can be part of an overall strategy to increase economic security for lower-income families.

April is Financial Literacy Month.

Finding the right balance of where, when and how to teach financial education continues to be debated and discussed by policymakers in the states. Thirty-six states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have pending financial literacy legislation in the 2020 legislative session.

In the midst of COVID-19 and massive upheaval in jobs and the economy, here are some resources to help navigate the immediate financial impact:

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a webpage devoted to helping consumers protect their finances during the coronavirus pandemic. With links addressing protecting consumers’ finances, mortgage and housing assistance, student loans and avoiding scams, the page provides help as the situation evolves.
  • The American Bankers Association and the Credit Union National Association have compiled helpful tips on the economic impact payments for consumers created through the CARES Act.
  • Visa and MasterCard have created webpages with tips on preventing fraud and disputing credit card charges
  • The Consumer Data Industry Association, an association representing consumer reporting agencies including the nationwide credit bureaus, regional and specialized credit bureaus, background check companies, and others, published a fact sheet to provide information on the systems in place to minimize or eliminate the negative credit impact of extreme events like a natural disaster or pandemic.

Heather Morton is a program principal in Fiscal Affairs. She covers consumer and financial services issues for NCSL.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.