Following the subprime mortgage crisis and consequent economic recession, it is safe to say that more Americans are educating themselves on financial matters and catering to their credit scores. Despite the positive improvements, the number of consumers that are still unaware of how to manage debt, rebuild their credit, or save for retirement is still too high for comfort. Recent reports reveal that a significant number of Americans do not have a financial plan for the future, leaving them vulnerable to hardship. Recognizing the dangers, the government has made plans to improve the financial literacy of Americans.
Largely unnoticed in the financial reform bill is a plan to establish the Office of Financial Literacy, aimed at educating and assisting Americans on money management, savings, debt and credit scores, according to the Wall Street Journal. The program marks one of many that the government has constructed to urge Americans to be more proactive about their finances.
Before proposing this program, the government launched a large informational campaign regarding the importance of obtaining an individual's credit report each year to examine it for accuracy. Following the initiative, the Financial Literacy and Education Commission - composed of 20 government agencies - was established and maintained by the U.S. Treasury Department, the Journal reports. The organization's primary goal was to create a national strategy for improving financial literacy in the U.S.
The government even went so far as to reach out electronically to consumers by establishing a website aimed at disseminating financial information to consumers. Despite the initial interest in the website, traffic has declined significantly, the newspaper said.
As Americans struggle to rebound from the recession, more individuals are reaching out for money management resources and credit information. As lenders tighten credit standards for mortgages, auto loans and even retail credit cards, more consumers are realizing the importance of a strong credit score.
The first step to improving an individual's credit standing is to gain awareness of their financial situation. Obtaining a copy of a consumer's credit report can reveal the areas in which a consumer may be weak financially and prompt them to improve on their spending habits. Simple tasks such as paying all bills on time while limiting the amount of credit a consumer uses may also help them slowly improve their credit score.