Basic financial literacy can be a great topic for a library program or class. But sometimes it can be intimidating to help patrons with financial matters. I have sometimes had to stop patrons from giving me their Social Security number, online banking passwords, and just ‘Way Too Much Information’ on their personal finances.
There are several financial literacy websites that can help you personally as well as be ‘go-to’ resources for patrons.
The very basics of financial literacy are covered in the Goodwill Community Foundation’s online instruction – https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/moneybasics/. This is a good basic tutorial that patrons can click through that covers creating a budget, managing a checking account, and planning for retirement.
The New York Public Library has an online financial literacy curriculum, a resource list, and best practices for library staff helping patrons – https://sites.google.com/a/nypl.org/money-matters. They have many materials and references that can be utilized to recreate classes or can be adapted for more informal use.
One tool I personally use is Mint.com. Mint is a free product made by Intuit, the same company that makes TurboTax and QuickBooks accounting software. Mint helps me track bills, create budgets, categorize spending and track my banking and credit card accounts. By linking my accounts, I can track several things in one place. Linking accounts always brings up the question of security. So, is it safe? Nothing online is 100% unhackable. If your banking or credit card is already online, Mint adds no real extra concern. You can read about their safety precautions here.
Mint is in my Bag of Tricks. If you’re new here, a Bag of Tricks is a virtual toolkit that you create to help familiarize yourself with new technology and websites that you or your patrons might find handy. Here’s an example of a Bag of Tricks that you can use as a jumping-off point for creating your own: https://padlet.com/kieran/CSLSHAREANDLEARN.
As we talked about in other parts of this Bag of Tricks series, having resources at your fingertips and a basic familiarity with up-and-coming technology can come in very handy, as well as giving you a bit more confidence.
What financial literacy tools do you have in your Bag of Tricks?