April is Financial Literacy Month; Consumers Encouraged to Take the Debt Free Pledge

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Springboard Nonprofit Consumer Credit Management is encouraging consumers to participate in a national initiative and pledge to become debt free.

Cut up your credit cards and add them to the 2011 Debt Free Pledge.

Cut up your credit cards and add them to the 2011 Debt Free Pledge.

This is the perfect time for consumers to review their financial goals and work towards making them come true.

April is officially recognized in the United States as National Financial Literacy month. This is a time when heightened awareness is placed on financial literacy education. According to the Federal Reserve, the average credit card debt for households that carry a balance is $15,788. The results of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) fifth annual Financial Literacy Survey indicate credit card debt continues to present challenges for many Americans, with two in five consumers carrying credit card balances from month to month. In response, Springboard Nonprofit Consumer Credit Management is encouraging consumers to participate in a national initiative and pledge to become debt free. By taking this pledge, consumers will be ridding themselves of the burden of overwhelming debt, and their lives will improve.

“This is the perfect time for consumers to review their financial goals and work towards making them come true,” said Melinda Opperman, Springboard’s senior vice president of community outreach and industry relations. “The Debt Free Pledge Campaign is an exciting national savings initiative designed to help make the goal of becoming debt free a reality,” said Opperman.

To take the pledge, visit Springboard’s Debt Free Pledge Form online. Consumers can use the form to write down their reasons for taking the pledge and the specific steps that will be taken to make their commitment a reality. Writing down a goal helps to confirm it and gives clarity and focus. Studies show that a person is 95 percent more likely to achieve a goal if it is written down. Seeing a goal in writing also serves as a reminder to stay on track.

There are many benefits to becoming debt free, including:

1.    Have a better life. Get rid of debt and you’ll sleep better, be a better family member and employee, all because you shed the cloud of debt that was hanging over you. Lose the debt, lose the stress.

2.    Build savings. With the extra money, you can begin or add to a savings account. This will allow you to establish an emergency fund and save toward goals like a vacation, vehicle or home improvements.

3.    Stop paying interest on debts, and instead put the money to work earning interest for you.

4.    Be prepared for emergencies. Saving puts you in a better position to weather an unexpected crisis like illness, job loss, or natural disaster.

“Being financially literate means knowing how to manage money, using credit effectively, building wealth and making sound financial decisions,” said Opperman. “We’re pleased to be a resource for consumers, and to place heightened awareness on the importance of financial literacy during the month of April,” said Opperman.

Springboard’s micro site, http://www.credit.org/Pledge/ also includes valuable information, including tips and articles, videos and a Budget 911 course.

Consumers who need help making their goal of becoming debt free a reality, are encouraged to contact Springboard to speak with a trained and certified credit counselor. Call Springboard toll-free at 800-449-9818, or go online to http://www.credit.org.

About Springboard Nonprofit Consumer Credit Management
SPRINGBOARD® Nonprofit Consumer Credit Management is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit personal financial education and counseling organization founded in 1974. Springboard is a HUD-approved housing counseling agency and a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, a national organization of nonprofit credit counseling agencies, and a member of the Association of Independent Credit Counseling Agencies. The agency offers personal financial education and assistance with credit counseling, housing counseling, debt and money management through educational programs and confidential counseling. Springboard is accredited by the Council on Accreditation, signifying the highest standards for agency governance, fiscal integrity, counselor certification and service delivery policies. The agency provides pre-bankruptcy counseling and debtor education as mandated by the bankruptcy reform law. The agency offers nationwide phone counseling services and has locations in California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas for in-person counseling sessions. Not all types of counseling are available in-person at all locations, please call for details. For more information on Springboard, call 800-449-9818 or visit their web site at http://www.credit.org.

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