Skip to main content
Banner for the Cleveland Fed Digest: Get to know us

April is Financial Literacy Month. What’s a financial lesson you or someone you know learned firsthand?

Kelly Banks
Kelly Banks, Lead, Learning Center and Money Museum

As appeared in the Cleveland Fed Digest's Ask the Expert on 03.28.2017

Issue #1 | March 28, 2017

April reminds me of the money lessons I’ve learned throughout my life. My grandfather paid for everything with cash. He always said, “Think about it; save for it; pay for it; owe no one.” My mother wrote checks and paid the bills on the same day each month. She kept her money in a neighborhood bank that we visited often (do they still have those red lollipops?). She balanced a budget that she managed to stretch far enough to take care of our large family. She saved some. She spent some. She gave some away. My husband and I? We pay bills online. My now-adult children never go into a bank. Their phones are their tools for everything—including ignoring my calls. We save for what we want. We spend within our means—usually. We share what we have—always.

Financial services tools and technologies change over time, so I think it’s important to focus on things like math, critical thinking, and learning throughout your lifetime. These skills and the lessons we pick up along the way empower our financial futures even as our world changes. The more access and opportunity we have to learn and understand money—or anything else—the better equipped we will be to make our own best choices.

Check out more

Kelly Banks leads the Learning Center and Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. The center and museum are open and free to the public, offering tours and hands-on, interactive exhibits for learning about personal finance, the history of money, and economics.Editor’s note: Kelly Banks retired from the Bank in 2018.

Cleveland Fed Digest delivers Cleveland Fed work right to your inbox once a month. Read, download, and explore just some of what the Cleveland Fed offers the public, from economic research and special reports on housing, banking, and labor markets to community development analyses and graphics that examine issues and illustrate trends. Of course, you can also check out all of our published work anytime right here on If you’re not yet a subscriber to Cleveland Fed Digest, share your email address with us to receive the e-newsletter each month. We welcome your feedback, too! Contact with questions or comments.

Rest assured, we do not sell or share your email address, and you may unsubscribe at any time.