San Diego, CA - 'A financial
literacy commission, made up of heads of federal agencies
that now sponsor literacy programs is one aim of Senate
(bill) 1532, a new piece of legislation introduced in the
U.S. Senate on July 31st, 2003. It is titled 'Financial
Literacy Community Outreach Act' and besides the
commission, it calls for a single web site where consumers
would find financial literacy programs from such agencies
as the Department of the Treasury, the Securities and
Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department
of Labor and the Department of Housing and Urban
Development,' said Paul S. Richard, a registered financial
consultant (RFC) and executive director of the nonprofit
Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE), a San
Diego based nonprofit group helping people of all ages
improve their spending habits, increase their savings and
use credit more wisely.
'Another overall goal is to bring all of the government's
financial literacy programs under one roof. These agencies
have programs and public information on savings, spending,
investing, preparing for retirement, selecting a pension
plan, buying a home and preventing identity theft, among
numerous other topics. The financial literacy commission
would ensure the federal government's programs on
financial literacy are coordinated,' Mr Richard pointed
Some of the findings cited in S 1532 as the basis for this
(1) The financial services industries offer families in
the United States many new opportunities to build wealth
and security, the ready availability of credit, an
overwhelming array of investment and savings options, and
the shifting of responsibility for retirement savings from
employer to employee has made the understanding of
personal finance ever more important.
(2) Many young adults within the United States have
demonstrated difficulty understanding basic financial
concepts, based on surveys of high school seniors
conducted by the JumpStart Coalition for Personal
Financial Literacy: (A) in 1997 participants, on average,
failed, and answered only 57 percent of the questions
correctly; (B) in 2000, the average score fell to 51
percent; and (C) in 2002, disturbingly, on average, only
50 percent of the questions were answered correctly. In
another survey of consumers 18 years and older conducted
by the American Association of Retired Persons in late
1998, only 11 percent of respondents correctly answered
four basic financial questions.
(3) In 2001, the total household debt exceeded total
household disposable income by nearly 10 percent and less
than half of all households hold stock in any form,
including mutual funds and 401(k)-style pension plans; and
further almost half of all workers have accumulated less
than $50,000 for their retirement, and 1/3 have saved less
More findings as the basis for this proposed legislation
include the fact that many Government agencies recognize
that the people of the United States lack expertise in
financial literacy and are working to help them. These
include efforts by the Department of Labor and the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation, which have joined together
to create `Money Smart', a training program to help adults
enhance their money-management skills;
Also, the Department of the Treasury, has formed the
`Financial Services Education
Council', and has published a guide called `Helping People
in Your Community Understand Basic Financial Services'.
The Department of the Treasury in promoting a middle
school curriculum called `Money Math: Lessons for Life'.
The Federal Trade Commission, which publishes information
about credit, including `Credit Matters: How to qualify
for credit, keep a good credit history, and protect your
credit'. The Department of Agriculture runs the `Family
Economics Program' to assist educators who deliver basic
consumer education and teach personal financial management
skills to young people.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, has an Office of
Investor Education and Assistance. The Board of Governors
of the Federal Reserve System, has developed materials
explaining how to use credit responsibly, obtain a
mortgage, build wealth, and lease a car. The Department of
Housing and Urban Development is funding housing
counseling agencies nationwide that provide advice on how
to save for and buy a home. And the Government Services
Administration is hosting the Federal Consumer Information
Center, which has an electronic catalogue of information
about Federal financial literacy programs.
Another finding, which consumer finance educators and
credit counselors have been aware of for many years, is
the serious problem with financial illiteracy among many
low-income consumers, who often (A) do not have a
relationship with a mainstream financial services
provider; (B) lack experience and information about
personal finance; and (C) are ill-prepared to make
informed financial decisions. Also, many people in the
United States (A) are in a precarious financial position
because they lack an understanding of economic and
financial fundamentals and of financial planning; B) are
forgoing opportunities to build wealth by failing to
target their investments to higher yielding, yet secure
savings vehicles; and (C) are failing to adequately plan
and save for retirement. Finally, there is very little
coordination among Federal programs, resulting in
duplication of effort and a confusing array of information
spread among many agencies.
For more information on S-1532'Financial Literacy
Community Outreach Act' visit:
For more information on the nonprofit ICFE, please visit:
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation). The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely.
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.
The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org). CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed. In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.
The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much. ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.
Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org. Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G, a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE), founded in 1982 by the
late Loren Dunton (creator of the 'certified financial planner' (CFP)
designation) and it is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve
their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely. The ICFE trains and
certifies Personal Finance Instructors for its own curriculum. It also trains
and certifies Credit Report Reviewers and Identity Theft Prevention Specialists.
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that
has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It
publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, now in its 16th
printing and has distributed over one million 'Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels'
and 'Credit/Debit Card Sleeves' world wide.
The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial
Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.
The ICFE is also a partner in the national Jump$tart Coalition for Financial
Literacy and the California Jump$tart chapter. The ICFE staff is also active
with San Diego Saves, an offshoot of America Saves, and the California Student
Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) (studentdebthelp.org).
The ICFE's on-line help for consumers who spend too much was featured in PARADE
Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from
'The Money Instruction Book,' a course in personal finance, positioned to become
among the premier programs in the new bankruptcy and debtor education
The ICFE Web site at:
www.financial-education-icfe.org helps consumers with mending spending, learning about
the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and
implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and
videos and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include a free
eNews, and an online resource center of financial education learning
tools, including videos, books, software and personal finance courses.