Weekly Columns

Money Management

Financial Literacy Month

Apr 18 2013

Across the country, Americans are facing financial difficulties in this stagnant economy. Taxes have gone up and will continue rise to once the President’s health care program goes into effect. Gas prices are up.  So too are home heating and cooling costs. Essentials, including food and clothing, cost more now than they did just a few years ago. 

Arkansans are definitely not immune to these financial difficulties. I continue to receive calls and letters from concerned Arkansans about the troubles they face trying to make ends meet each day. High credit card debt and high unemployment rates have us questioning the future of our financial security. 

April is designated as Financial Literacy Month. There is no better time than now to start taking control of our personal finances. Educating citizens will empower them to make better financial decisions. We must strive for long term solutions, not a short term quick fix. Small changes now will translate into big results later. 

Although individuals cannot control the economy, they can control their finances. Sound money management and control over our personal finances are critical life skills needed during these times of uncertainty. Understanding these concepts can empower Arkansans to make smart financial decisions in this complicated economy. Better decisions today will pave the way for more stability in our workforce and in our economy. Financial education of our youth can result in a positive turn around and plant the seeds of economic recovery in our state for future generations. 

We are working to empower all Americans to take control of their finances through efforts like www.mymoney.gov. This website provides tools including calculators, budgeting worksheets, and checklists to help make more informed financial decisions. The site can help you map out a financial plan for all your life events and has dedicated resources for members of the military, caregivers, small business owners and more. 

I understand the struggles Arkansans are facing and how tough it is to manage money in this difficult environment. We are all capable of getting on the path to financial security – even Washington. This is one of the issues I hear the most about from Arkansans. I hear you loud and clear. We need to create a balanced budget and spend only the money we have. We shouldn’t have to raise taxes. We need to reduce spending. Arkansas families are forced to do this and Washington needs to follow their lead. 

We cannot expect our problems to be solved overnight but we can start making smart financial decisions that will bring us closer to a solution sooner than later. We must continue working on fixing our financial turmoil so we can stay on the path of recovery. That starts at home. Let’s help individuals and families practice good financial habits so that we can take control of our finances, not big government.