By John McMillan, State Treasurer of Aabama

March 24, 2020


Whether it’s housework, paying bills or setting doctor’s appointments, even the best of us procrastinate.

One thing you shouldn’t put off: becoming financially literate.

Financially literate people know how to budget, handle their debt and save for their goals such as higher education. Learning financial skills can help transform whole families and communities for the better. 

It is never too late to become financially literate and begin to save money. Create a budget and start small for a big payoff in the long run. For parents, your child’s education is very important. While college may seem far off, it is never too early to start saving money. Understanding key financial topics such as how student loans and 529 plans work will put you one step ahead of the game. This will lessen the burden of paying for your child’s college tuition when the time comes.

A key part of becoming financially literate is taking crucial steps to reduce your debt, and eventually becoming debt-free. Understanding the costs associated with higher education and how financial aid works is a great start.

Student loans are the second-largest category of consumer debt for Americans, with the average American carrying over $35,000 in student loan debt. To avoid becoming part of this statistic, I recommend starting to save now in a state-sponsored 529 plan.

While many institutions offer scholarships, there is no way to predict how many or how much your child will receive. It’s best to plan ahead, and you will be glad you did.

Financial literacy benefits more than just your bank account. It can give you peace of mind and allow you to accomplish your goals faster and more efficiently than ever before. Financial literacy is the key to maximizing success for both you and your child.


About the author:

John McMillan is the State Treasurer of Alabama. He also serves as the chairman of CollegeCounts – Alabama’s 529 Plan. Visit or for more information on ways to save through a 529 plan.