It’s April and residents across the Washington Metropolitan region are either finalizing their taxes or preparing for spring cleaning, or both. This April, I would like to encourage residents to use the month as an opportunity to reassess their financial knowledge. April, which is recognized nationally as “Financial Literacy Month,” can be just the right time to test just how smart you are with your money.
And taking that test is critical to improving the economic landscape of our communities.
Did you know that in the Washington region households are spending 36 percent of their income on housing and 15 percent on transportation, which equates to more than half of their income? In the United States, 45 percent of households do not own a retirement account asset and 31 percent of non-retired people do not have a retirement savings or pension. And in the District, 41 percent do not have enough savings to live above the poverty line for three months.
These numbers are startling. If we want to maintain an economically viable community that is inclusive to all, it is imperative that we bridge the gap and give residents the support they need to improve their financial well-being.
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser launched her Economic Strategy with that goal in mind: making the District economically inclusive. For the month of April, my agency, the District Department of Insurance Securities and Banking will host a variety of education programs that serve all District residents from youth to senior to help them learn more about how to save, financial scams to avoid, and ways to start a retirement account.
We also encourage you to utilize our Financially Fit DC program, a comprehensive financial education program which includes a web-based tool that can be accessed from the comfort of your home. Visit welcome.financiallyfitdc.com and get started with creating a budget, managing your credit, learning how to build a savings and more.
Together, let’s all pledge to get Financially Fit.