Financial Literacy Month

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: Jonathan Burch | 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: Jonathan Burch | 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: Jonathan Burch | TAGS: ,

Financial Literacy Month 2015 Kick Off

2014 financial literacy month 150x150 Financial Literacy Month 2015 Kick OffApril is Financial Literacy Month! Throughout the month, CEE and our affiliates will be conducting a full roster of events to shine a spotlight on the importance of economic and financial education. As part of our efforts, we will be sharing perspectives from leaders in the field right there on our blog. Look out for essays from guest bloggers throughout the month of April, including:


  • United States Senator Patty Murray, Senior Senator from Washington, Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
  • Congressman Steve Stivers, Ohio’s 15th District, Co-Chair of the House Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus
  • Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • David Wessel, Director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution
  • Raymond W. McDaniel, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer, Moody’s Corporation
  • Kelli Grant, Consumer Reporter,
  • and more!

In addition to these to these great guest bloggers, we will also be featuring “Money Math Mondays” every week to introduce key concepts focused on financial literacy. These posts will provide fun number problems that parents can do with their kids from Bedtime Math and will link to lessons that relate to the topic on EconEdLink.

POSTED: April 1, 2015 | BY: Jonathan Burch | TAGS: , , , , , ,

CEE Report – Summer 2014

Three times a year the Council for Economic Education releases the CEE Report, highlighting our new and noteworthy events, programs and partnerships, including pilot programs and joint ventures with key supporters.

download cee report su14 CEE Report   Summer 2014

In This Issue

Upcoming Events
Vantage Point Series
Note from Nan
Indiana Council Launches $mart Indiana
Financial Literacy Month Highlights
Building Economic & Financial Literacy of DE Students
Financial Literacy & the Federal Government
Building the Financial Literacy of Illinois Students
2014 National Economics ChallengeSM
53rd Annual Conference
New Board Members
Gen i Revolution – Search for the Sweet 16th Contest Results
Survey of the States – By the Numbers
2014 Visionary Awards Dinner

POSTED: June 30, 2014 | BY: kwilliams | TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Helping Americans Build Financial Knowledge

April 30 Helping Americans Build Financial KnowledgeBy Richard G. Ketchum, CEO of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA); Chairman of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.

In the face of a rapidly evolving economy and financial marketplace, it’s vital that Americans have the tools and the knowledge to make good decisions about money. We at the FINRA Investor Education Foundation are committed to helping Americans build their financial knowledge. One of the ways we’re doing this is through the FINRA Foundation’s National Financial Capability Study (NFCS), which was most recently conducted in 2012. Read more…

POSTED: April 30, 2014 | BY: Annamarie Cerreta | TAGS: , , , , , , , ,

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