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North Dakota launches financial literacy program

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North Dakota launches financial literacy program

Apr 02, 2024 | 6:30 pm ET
By Mary Steurer
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North Dakota launches financial literacy program
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The Bank of North Dakota, in partnership with several state agencies, helped launch a financial literacy website for North Dakota residents. The state set a goal for North Dakotans to become the most financially literate in the country by 2027. (Kyle Martin/For the North Dakota Monitor)

North Dakota has launched an online financial education website as part of a larger effort to make the state the most financially literate in the U.S. by 2027.

The effort is spearheaded by Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler, Treasurer Thomas Beadle, the Bank of North Dakota, Gov. Doug Burgum’s Office and a handful of other state agencies.

North Dakota residents can create a free account on SmartWithMyMoney.nd.gov to access education modules on budgeting, decreasing credit card debt and other topics, Kelvin Hullet, chief business development officer for the Bank of North Dakota, said at a Tuesday press conference announcing the website. The site also includes a research-based financial personality test to help residents reflect on how they use their money.

“This is a unique website,” Hullet said. “It dives in deeper than maybe typically what you would see with other types of education or other websites.”

Those who complete assignments on the SmartWithMyMoney.nd.gov are eligible to win cash prizes.

“When residents are financially healthy, there are far-reaching positive impacts on their personal well-being and the state’s economy,” Burgum said in a Tuesday announcement. “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.”

A 2021 survey published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority asked Americans across the country to answer a seven-question financial literacy quiz. In North Dakota, only 37% of respondents got more correct answers than the median. In Minnesota and South Dakota, those figures were 41% and 38%, respectively, according to the Tuesday announcement from the governor’s office.

The state’s goal is for about two-thirds of North Dakotans to beat the median score in 2027.

North Dakota’s other performance targets for the 2027 survey include:

  • For roughly two-thirds of surveyed residents to report having at least three months’ worth of emergency funds. In 2021, just 52% of North Dakota respondents met this standard.
  • For only one-third of respondents to report experiencing financial anxiety. In 2021, this figure was 56%.
  • For about two-thirds of surveyed residents to participate in employer-based retirement plans, compared to 57% in 2021.