Financial Literacy Month

Financial Literacy Month Highlights

2014 financial literacy month Financial Literacy Month HighlightsApril is Financial Literacy Month, and it’s a great opportunity to reflect on both how far we’ve come, and what challenges remain in 2015. Over the past 12 months, four states—and counting—have adopted CEE’s National Standards for Financial Literacy. This follows a period of slow to no growth as shown in CEE’s 2014 Survey of the States, which found that a majority of states do not require that students receive education in economics or personal finance education. This increased momentum may signal that the tide has at last started to turn in the right direction.

For the next four weeks CEE and our affiliates will be conducting a full roster of events to shine a spotlight on the importance of economic and financial education.  Here are some of the highlights:

VP Financial Literacy Month HighlightsVantage Point: Real World Perspectives on the Economy
An insightful and engaging discussion with an esteemed panel of experts and leaders joined us for our second annual economic symposium. Featured speakers included Professor Greg Mankiw, who gave the keynote, and Esther George, President of the Kansas City Federal Reserve, with an Update from the Fed.


Higher One, Money Matters On Campus
CEO and President Nan J. Morrison participated on a panel conducted by Higher One, sharing the results of their Money Matters On Campus survey.

State Council Events
Meanwhile, our state council affiliates have been working diligently to promote financial literacy carrying out a host of activities: the Ohio Council for Economic Education welcomed Jeff Immelt, (CEO, General Electric) as keynote speaker at their 2015 Awards Luncheon; and in Rhode Island, students and guests including U.S. Congressman Jim Langevin and State Treasurer Seth Magaziner, kicked off the month with a “‘Financial Frenzy’ Forum.”

bedtime math e1428507502789 Financial Literacy Month HighlightsMoney Math Mondays
New this year we’ll be featuring Money Math Mondays throughout the month, a series of financial literacy-related math problems for parents and kids created by the founder of Bedtime Math.


CEE Blog Features Leaders Promoting Financial Literacy
We are excited to share perspectives from some of the leading voices in economics and personal finance. Guest bloggers include Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH), Richard Cordray (Director, CFPB), David Wessel (Director, Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, Brookings), Raymond W. McDaniel, Jr. (President and CEO, Moody’s) and Kelli Grant (Consumer Reporter, Be sure to tune in; we’ll be posting new articles every week!



POSTED: April 10, 2015 | BY: Annamarie Cerreta | TAGS: , , , , ,

Stop! Wait! Make a Financially Literate College Decision

Kelli Grant 150x150 Stop! Wait! Make a Financially Literate College DecisionBy Kelli Grant, Consumer Reporter,

It may be Financial Literacy Month, but for high school seniors, April is also Big Decision Month. College acceptance letters are landing in mailboxes and inboxes, with the clock ticking down to a May 1 acceptance deadline at many schools.

To them I say, Stop! Wait! Don’t be so quick to say “yes” to that first-choice school. Your family’s financial future depends on making a financially literate decision.

Some 40 million Americans have student loan debt, which has mounted to $1.3 trillion. The Project on Student Loan debt estimates that borrowers in the Class of 2013 owed an average $28,400 in federal and private loans. Worse, many grads are falling behind on their payments: 11 percent were 90 or more days delinquent in the last quarter of 2014, according to a report from the New York Federal Reserve.  (For perspective, during the same quarter, 7 percent of credit card balances and 3 percent of auto and mortgage loans were delinquent.)

We’ve seen some aid in expanded income-based repayment plans and refinancing options, in start-ups experimenting with low-cost funding. More could be on the horizon under President Obama’s Student Aid Bill of Rights.

But a big part of halting the cycle of student loan debt has to come from students and families making smart decisions about whether, how and how much to borrow. As I’ve written recently, the financial aid offers that typically come packaged with those college acceptance letters aren’t always easy to decipher. And they’re worth more than a fast look. Parents and students need to sit down and talk about what those loans will amount to come graduation time and just how achievable that monthly payment will be on the typical starting salary of a high school music teacher, engineer or journalist.

It’s not just students who need to gut check their financial responsibility. Parents need to make sure they’re not taking on too much debt or hurting their chances of retirement. A recent T. Rowe Price survey found that 53 percent of parents with kids age 15 and younger would rather tap their retirement savings than have their child take on student loan debt, while 52 percent said they were willing to take on $25,000 or more in debt to cover college costs. Nor is it unusual these days for parents to provide some financial support to their adult children, including help with those student loan payments.

Crunching the numbers might not give you the answer you want. But it will give you the information you need, to work on a brighter financial future.

POSTED: April 10, 2015 | BY: Daniel Thompson | TAGS: , , ,

Becoming “College Savings” Literate

Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald e1428507423995 Becoming College Savings Literate By Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald, Iowa State Treasurer

When it comes to financial literacy, saving, planning and investing are valuable terms that emphasize the importance of strong financial management and well-being. These concepts are especially useful when contemplating the costs of higher education. Saving for college is made easier with 529 college savings plans, which help families invest in their children’s futures in a tax-advantaged way.

Celebrate Financial Literacy Month by looking into the benefits of a state-sponsored 529 college savings plan:

  1. Tax savings. 529 plans were designed to provide families and friends a tax-advantaged way to save for higher education expenses. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia offer state tax deductions or credits for contributions to certain 529 plans, which could help your tax refund grow to an even larger amount for the next tax year. In addition to the potential state tax benefits, participants are also able to withdraw their investment federally tax-free to pay for qualified expenses (and many states allow this as well).
  2. Flexibility. You have the ability to save for anyone: children, grandchildren, friends or even yourself. 529 plans may also be used to pay for a variety of expenses, including tuition, books, supplies and certain room and board costs, at any eligible college, university, community college, vocational/technical schools and graduate schools.
  3. Low minimum investments. Most plans have very low minimum monthly contribution limits that make them attractive to families from many income levels. Some states will have minimum limits as low as $15.

Although there are many ways to prepare a child for a successful future, none can bring greater lifetime rewards than a quality education. As I always say when discussing college savings with families, by starting early, saving a little at a time and making smart investment choices, you can make your 529 plan work for you and get the most out of these precious years.

They grow up fast; you will be glad you planned for their tomorrow today!

POSTED: April 8, 2015 | BY: Daniel Thompson | TAGS: , ,

The Importance of Financial Literacy

Congressman Steve Stivers e1428413312966 The Importance of Financial LiteracyBy Congressman Steve Stivers, Ohio’s 15th District, Co-Chair of the House Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus.

The month of April is Financial Literacy Month and serves as a reminder that we are all responsible for our fiscal security. As a co-chair of the House Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus, this issue is especially important to me.

I believe we can take steps now to ensure financial security in the future. These steps can include learning about IRAs and mutual funds, regularly contributing money into a savings account or even starting a retirement plan for the first time. Taking these small steps can mean the difference between retiring at a time of your choosing versus continuing to work well past retirement age.

A factor in ensuring financial security in the future is saving enough money for healthcare expenses. One way many families save money for healthcare services and items not covered by insurance are through Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). These can pay for expenses such as doctor copayments, prescription drugs, medical supplies, vision and dental services. Recently, I introduced legislation that will make it even easier for families by allowing the un-used money in FSAs to be saved for large medical expenses.

If you are interested in learning more about how to ensure financial security in your future, I would recommend the U.S. Treasury Department’s resource center, which can be found at Another good resource available through the FDIC is the Money Smart website, which can be found at

Our own financial literacy is important, but we also need to teach our children how to make good financial decisions. There have been studies that have found that freshman college students who had taken a financial literacy class while in high school were significantly more likely to be fiscally responsible than students who had not taken such classes.

These classes give students an excellent opportunity to learn more about managing finances before college, where many students can fall into financial trouble. In fact, a study by EverFi and Higher One featured in a USA Today article shows that students who have this opportunity in high school are generally more opposed to debt and more inclined to pay credit cards bills in a timely manner.

As the father of two young children, I understand that there are also little lessons I can teach them well before high school. Right now, my daughter Sarah, who is five, is learning the difference between quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies and why she should save her change in her piggy bank.

If you are interested in learning about more to help your children begin learning about fiscal responsibility, a great resource is the Jump$tart website at

I hope you will take time this month to consider learning more about finances and visit some of the available resources to ensure a secure financial future for you and your family. If you have any questions about this, or any other federal issue, please feel free to contact my office in Washington, D.C. at (202) 225-2015, Hilliard at (614) 771-4968, Lancaster at (740) 654-2654, or Wilmington at (937) 283-7049.

POSTED: April 7, 2015 | BY: Daniel Thompson | TAGS: , , , , ,

Money Math Mondays: Pennies by the Pound

bedtime math e1428354300625 Money Math Mondays: Pennies by the PoundThe Council for Economic Education is excited to link to Bedtime Math’s “Money Math Mondays” math problems during Financial Literacy Month. Parents have been snuggling up with their children for bedtime stories for generations. Why not do the same with math problems? Bedtime Math was created by Laura Overdeck, a mother with a degree in astrophysics, to help parents increase “math awareness” by taking a fun story, picture or video and creating math problems for toddlers, pre-school and elementary school children to solve in their heads. Click here to see how Bedtime Math gets your kids thinking about saving money:

CEE has hundreds of free lessons available for K-12 teachers on Check out these lessons on saving:

econedlink logo 300x71 Money Math Mondays: Pennies by the Pound




Grades K-2, 3-5
The ABCs of Saving
This lesson will introduce students to three elements they need to understand in order to save successfully. A is for Aim: setting a goal. B is for Bank: creating a place to put savings. C is for coins and currency: making saving money a habit.

Grades 6-8
Climbing the Savings Mountain
Students discover how saving money can be compared to a mountain climb. The climb can be fast or slow, safe or hazardous, scenic or thrilling. You will find out that there is more than one way to get to the top!

Grades 9-12 (Math)
Spending Multipliers
Students learn the definition of marginal propensity to consume and marginal propensity to save. Then they participate in a simulation to demonstrate how the marginal propensity to consume and marginal propensity to save influence the economy through the multiplier effect.

Grades 9-12 (Economics)
A Penny Saved
After reading the comic book, “A Penny Saved,” published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, students use a compound interest formula and a table to see the effects of compounding and learn the Rule of 72.

POSTED: April 6, 2015 | BY: Daniel Thompson | TAGS: , ,

College- and Career-Readiness Requires a Strong Foundation in Financial Literacy

Senator Patty Murray1 239x300 College  and Career Readiness Requires a Strong Foundation in Financial LiteracyBy United States Senator Patty Murray, Senior Senator from Washington, Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.


From Washington D.C. to the schools in my home state of Washington, there is broad agreement that when students walk across the stage to receive their high school diploma, they should have the skills they need to further their education and begin their career. I believe to be truly college-and-career ready, students need a strong foundation in financial literacy, so they will be able to tackle those challenges in adulthood. That’s not just important for their future. It’s also important for our economy.

We saw with the devastating economic recession that too many Americans lacked the information and skills to make sound, well-informed financial decisions, from signing up for credit cards, to taking out a mortgage, to planning for retirement. That’s not just problematic for families, it can have negative consequences for our national economy.

In the Senate, I’ve championed legislation to help Americans of all ages become more financially informed by making sure states have the resources they need to teach financial literacy in K-12 schools and two-and-four-year colleges.

Whether it’s skyrocketing interest rates on credit cards or a complex retirement plan, one thing I’ve heard from so many constituents is, “I wish they had taught this stuff in school.” I agree. For younger students, learning these skills alongside the core curriculum in math and reading will help prepare them for the challenges they will face later in life. Especially as students and families take on loans to finance their post-secondary education, they need to have these basic skills so they fully understand the consequences of taking on student debt.

Adults should also have access to financial education, so they can understand the fine print and not fall prey to predatory lending or other scams. That’s why my legislation would provide resources to two-and-four-year colleges and universities and partner organizations, so they can provide high-quality courses in financial literacy.

Education is one of the most important investments we can make to create broad-based and long-term economic growth. Empowering more Americans with the knowledge and skills they need to make sound financial decisions goes hand-in-hand with providing all students with a high-quality public education, regardless of where they live, how they learn, or how much money their parents make. That’s why I’ll continue to fight for investments to better prepare today’s and tomorrow’s citizens for the numerous individual financial decisions they will make, from housing to employment and education.

All students should graduate from high school, college-and-career ready, which includes having a strong foundation in financial literacy. Incorporating financial literacy skills in K-12 education, as well as expanding learning opportunities well into adulthood, will pay off for our students’ future and the future of our economy.

POSTED: April 2, 2015 | BY: Daniel Thompson | TAGS: ,

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