On January 22, 2008, then-President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13455, creating the 16-member President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy. The council members represented a diversity of organizations, including corporations, non-profits, faith-based groups, state government agencies, regulatory authorities and academic institutions.

The council adopted the Financial Literacy and Education Commission’s definitions of these two terms”

Financial literacy: “The ability to use knowledge and skills to manage financial resources effectively for a lifetime of financial well-being.”

Financial education: “The process by which people improve their understanding of financial products, services and concepts, so they are empowered to make informed choices, avoid pitfalls, know where to go for help and take other actions to improve their present and long-term financial well-being.”

At myaccountingcourse.com, this definition of financial literacy has been embraced: “…(T)he education and understanding of knowing how money is made, spent and saved, as well as the skills and ability to use financial resources to make decisions. These decisions include how to generate, invest, spend and save money.”

No matter which of the definitions noted here rings a bell for you, or whether you have another that works for you, there is ample research to show that African Americans as a whole – generally speaking – have a lot of ground to cover to be able to show the fruits of financial literacy.

This edition of The New Tri-State Defender includes a focus on financial literacy. It’s not a comprehensive focus. It’s a starting point for a series of articles that will culminate next April during Financial Literacy Month.

Yes, there is such a thing. It has been officially recognized in the U.S. by Congressional designation since 2003. The TSD will spotlight individuals, groups, businesses, schools and communities along a spectrum of financial education efforts.

The focus will intersect with the newspaper’s yearlong MLK50 reporting project titled MLK50: The View From 38126. Zeroed in on the city’s poorest ZIP code – and one of the poorest in the nation, that coverage focus is on raising the profile of poverty, putting faces to conditions and chronicling the transformative efforts of individuals and groups.