Starting in 2004, April has been recognized as National Financial Literacy Month. Why is that? Because good financial habits don’t come out of thin air. They need to be learned, practiced, implemented, and remembered.
National Financial Literacy Month actually started out as Youth Financial Literacy Day. It was a 24-hour period dedicated to helping youngsters start saving money early in life. But it quickly became apparent that more than just youth needed reminders and that a full month could do a lot more good than just a single day.
“In high school and college, most students learn a lot about geometry and calculus but very little about taxes and investing,” says a startling financial report from USA Today. “In fact, when tested on financial concepts, only 17% of respondents ages 18 to 34 demonstrated basic financial literacy, according to the FINRA Foundation’s 2018 National Financial Capability Study. It could partly be a lack of exposure. Just 29% of those surveyed by FINRA said they’d been offered financial education at a school, college, or workplace. A lack of personal finance education can make navigating money decisions even more intimidating, especially in the face of a $1.5 trillion student loan debt crisis and possible recession on the horizon.”
Thankfully, the focus on finances brought on by initiatives such as National Financial Literacy Month is helping raise awareness. And the prescience of organizing this national event has become clearer as we have endured the Great Recession and the brutal challenges brought on by the pandemic. Any resources and efforts put into financial literacy have taken on new significance in our current environment. And if any of it helped prevent issues rather than being used as a cure, it was all worthwhile.
Fortunately, diverse resources are available to help entrepreneurs maximize their finances and avoid pitfalls. Some of the best resources are available through the US Small Business Administration (SBA).
You’ll find guides on SBA.gov covering business startup costs, leveraging personal finances, and developing a cash flow analysis. The resources are available in English and Spanish and provide clear insights into the complexities of business finances.
You should also check out MyMoney.gov, which breaks down the process of earning, borrowing, saving, investing, spending, and protecting your money.
“The US Small Business Administration (SBA) wishes to bring financial literacy not only to America as a whole but specifically to small businesses and future entrepreneurs,” explains SBA.gov. “The commission was asked to develop a national financial education website (MyMoney.gov), along with a hotline (1-888-My Money) and a national strategy on financial education.”
You can also get crucial details and training through Money Smart for Small Business (MSSB), which was developed through a partnership between the SBA and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The training modules walk entrepreneurs through various aspects of small business finances and provide the type of insights that bring confidence and clarity.
Your friends from Sunrise have also assembled a vast library of financial resources for small business owners (and anyone else who wants to sharpen their skills). The goal is to provide entry-level guides for common topics, as well as advanced information for those who are looking for solutions to more advanced finance challenges.
The best place to start is our Bookkeeping 101 section. These short guides and resources cover a wide range of topics that you can’t afford to ignore. It doesn’t matter if you’re just getting your first business off the ground or you have been an entrepreneur since the Reagan administration—there are topics here that will help you become a better manager and maximizer of your money.
Another great resource is our financial tracking guide. Here you’ll learn how to open a business bank account, get bookkeeping software up and running, record your expenses, categorize your expenses, and prepare for tax season.
We also offer more specific resources to boost your bookkeeping abilities and help you become more financially literate. Popular guides cover what bookkeeping is, the difference between bookkeeping vs. accounting, income types, and why it’s important to keep your books updated.
Even with the best intentions, managing your books can be a challenge. Here are some additional guides to empower you to wrangle your books and get the most benefit from them:
Feeling like your financial literacy is already off the charts? Take our helpful quiz at the bottom of the page in our Bookkeeping 101 section and see where you stand.
The most important thing to remember is that your finances will always be an evolving element of your life. So you can’t just learn a handful of skills and then rest on your laurels. You must always be seeking new insights, mastering new concepts, and finding additional ways to secure your financial future. In this way, you’ll make every month of the year a financial literacy month—and your business will thank you for it!