New Jersey Monitor

State Treasury officials have launched a free financial wellness platform called NJFinLit to help residents better prepare for and recover from economic instability.

State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio said her office began working on the initiative earlier in the pandemic, as they saw the economic downturn disproportionately impact low- and moderate-income residents and families.

In an interview, Muoio said it’s important to approach finances “with an eye towards what happens when the wheel comes off the bus economically.”

“There are so many things that can really sideswipe you economically when you don’t have an economic cushion and you’re living paycheck to paycheck. We wanted to provide tools to make folks a little more resilient economically,” she said.

Users of the new platform can access financial education courses on budgeting, banking, mortgages, credit, college savings, and more. The site also offers retirement and home affordability analyzers; student loan and higher education tools; and personal finance calculators.

People can also assess their stress levels to see how saving for retirement, paying credit cards off monthly, building up an emergency savings fund, and otherwise improving their financial health can improve their mental health by reducing stress.

The site is intended for any adults in New Jersey, but Muoio said she expects it will be especially useful for people who struggle financially.

“We’re trying to help people who have limited resources make those resources work for them. Better planning can be a tool that can combat income inequality,” Muoio said. “Financial literacy should be a lifelong experience. You just can’t predict what happens in the future. You need to be able to prepare, and that’s what we’re hoping that the FinLit program can do.”

The initiative comes three years after New Jersey legislators directed schools to begin teaching financial literacy.

This story is provided by New Jersey Monitor. It originally appeared here