Tuesday, April 2, 2024

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum was joined by leaders of 11 state agencies today to kick off Financial Literacy Month in North Dakota and share a new resource available to all North Dakotans, SmartwithMyMoney.nd.gov, to improve financial literacy.

This free website allows residents to create an account, take a research-based financial personality assessment, and learn how their personality affects their money decisions. That information, when paired with their level of financial knowledge on key topics, identifies personalized learning resources on the site to improve financial literacy. Completing challenges on the site enters people in a pool for a chance to win cash prizes.

The goal of the “Smart with My Money” effort is to make North Dakota the most financially literate state by 2027.

“When residents are financially healthy, there are far-reaching positive impacts on their personal well-being and the state’s economy,” Burgum said. “Reducing financial stress improves mental health. Making good financial decisions decreases the number of people with excessive credit card debt. More people are able to purchase homes, start or expand a business, and have increased expendable income. We’re grateful for the agencies that have committed to making North Dakota the most financially literate state and improving the quality of life for our citizens.”

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) completes a study of financial literacy every three years. The last set of data released in 2022 found that only 37% of adults surveyed in North Dakota in 2021 felt confident with their knowledge of finances, compared with 41% in Minnesota and South Dakota and 38% in Montana.

In his State of the State Address in January, Burgum announced the goal of making North Dakota the most financially literate state in America by 2027 through an effort led by State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler and State Treasurer Thomas Beadle in coordination with the Bank of North Dakota (BND), Governor’s Office, Securities Department, Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and other state agencies.

“In North Dakota, we recognize that empowering people with knowledge is key to their prosperity. Financial literacy isn't just about numbers; it's about helping individuals make informed decisions that impact their lives and our state's economy,” Baesler said. “North Dakota leaders are working together to provide a path forward where every North Dakotan is equipped with the tools and knowledge to navigate their financial journey with confidence.”

“Every single North Dakotan makes decisions that impact their personal finances daily, but not everyone feels equipped to make those choices wisely,” Beadle said. “Whether you are saving for future education, retirement planning, or trying to learn about responsibly using credit cards and managing interest rates, our goal is to ensure that there is something for everyone to help them improve their financial well-being.”

Bank of North Dakota funded the project and will work with state agencies and the business and banking communities to deliver the program through multiple channels. There are 12 state agencies already committed to the effort, with more expected in join in the coming weeks.

“Good financial habits open doors and increase opportunities for our residents,” said BND Senior Vice President for Business Development Kelvin Hullet. “Financial institutions across the state are focusing on financial literacy, and Bank of North Dakota is pleased to play a key role in this effort.”

North Dakota has set the following benchmarks to meet by 2027 as measured by the FINRA study:

  • 66% of residents will receive the higher overall financial knowledge score compared to 37% in the last set of released data.
  • 66% of residents will have emergency funds that last three months compared to 52% in 2021.
  • The percentage of residents who experience financial anxiety will decrease from 56% to 33%.
  • 66% of residents will have a retirement plan through their employer compared to 57% today.
  • Residents who find it difficult to cover expenses and pay all their bills in a typical month will decrease to 33% from 45%.

In addition to Burgum, Baesler, Beadle and Hullet, those attending today’s event and supporting the effort include Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread, Securities Commissioner Karen Tyler, DFI Commissioner Lise Kruse, Job Service North Dakota Executive Director Pat Bertagnolli, State Health Officer Dr. Nizar Wehbi, North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott, Department of Career and Technical Education Director Wayde Sick, Retirement & Investment Office Executive Director Janilyn Murtha, Public Employees Retirement System Director Rebecca Fricke, and State Library Literacy Specialist Lexi Whitehorn.