ICFE eNEWS #09-31 - December 16th 2009
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Administration Officials Promote Enhanced Financial Capability Among America's Youth

Treasury's Office of Financial Education is pleased to share the announcement below:

December 15, 2009

Administration Officials Promote
Enhanced Financial Capability Among America's Youth

Groundbreaking Survey Assessing Financial Capabilities in U.S.
to Inform Administration Agenda on Financial Capability

New Treasury-Education Partnership to Help Bring National Financial
Capability Challenge, Focus on Financial Education to Classrooms Across the Country

WASHINGTON - Embarking on a new partnership between the agencies, U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan met today with students, educators and community leaders to promote strengthened financial capability among the nation's youth. They outlined the first step in this effort, the National Financial Capability Challenge, a national award program that aims to encourage financial education in schools across the country and recognize high-performing teachers, students, and schools.

Informing this focus on youth are findings from a new national financial capability survey released today that measures financial capability levels among U.S. adults. Commissioned by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation and developed in consultation with Treasury and the President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, the survey shows that young adults display much lower financial literacy than older generations. In addition, the findings on financial behaviors highlight the need to ensure that the next generation starts taking steps now to secure their financial futures.

"The searing lessons of this crisis are already affecting the financial behavior of an entire generation, as Americans start to save more and borrow less," said Secretary Geithner. "We're moving forward with financial reform and strong protection for consumers, but we must also do a better job making sure our students graduate from high school with a better understanding of basic economics, basic finance and the benefits and risks associated with debt."

"The reality is that all children don't know the basics of saving and investing. It's a skill they need to be successful in our economy," said Secretary Duncan. "The initiative we're announcing today with the Department of Treasury is a step in the right direction."

In the wake of the worst financial crisis in modern history, the Administration is committed to making lasting, sustainable changes that leave all Americans on sounder financial footing. A critical part of those changes is already under way as the Administration works with Congress to enact sweeping financial reforms that will create a safer, more stable financial system and provide better protection for consumers and investors and the necessary tools to fight crises early. Yet those efforts alone are not enough. The Administration also believes that individual Americans need better financial education and access to critical Resources in order to make smarter financial decisions. Personal responsibility and increased knowledge, skills and access are critical to minimizing the risky financial behavior that contributed to this past economic crisis.

The Department of Treasury and the Department of Education will be working together to help ensure that America's youth are prepared to take responsibility for their financial futures by learning more about personal finance. The first step in that effort, the National Financial Capability Challenge, encourages responsible financial choices that will benefit children now and into adulthood. The Administration aims to enhance Resources to support program implementation and expand its reach with a focus on underserved communities, which, according to the FINRA survey, suffer the most from a lack of access to financial education and Resources.

Beginning today, teachers, schools, school districts, home-school parents, and youth groups can register online to participate. Starting in early 2010, a teacher tool kit developed by outside experts will be provided to all registered teachers to help them integrate financial topics into their curricula. Educators are encouraged to use these tools and to adopt their own innovative approaches to helping students increase their financial capability. The Challenge exam will be offered from March 15-April 2, 2010. All U.S. high-school aged students are encouraged to take part, and students from every participating school will have an opportunity to win awards.

For more information about the National Financial Capability Challenge, go to: www.challenge.treas.gov

For more information about the FINRA Financial Capability Study, got to: www.finrafoundation.org/capability


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.

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