Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

News Release

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Lyn Peters, Director of Communications
PH (360) 902-8731 lpeters@dfi.wa.gov

Jeremy Lushene, Webmaster, Financial Education & Outreach
PH (360) 902-0506 jlushene@dfi.wa.gov


Financial Literacy Month: A Great Time For The Whole Family To Learn How To Take Control Of Your Financial Future

Tough times can become solid teaching opportunities for young family members

OLYMPIA – Each day it seems we learn of more layoffs, declining retirement fund balances, an increasing number of foreclosures and more Washington residents fearful their credit debt may soon be higher than their limit. There is a silver lining to the news, however: Now is a great time to revisit the basic financial education lessons learned — and taught — by our grandparents:

It seems simple enough, but statistics show financial education isn’t being taught in the majority of homes or schools today. The 2007 back-to-school cardholder survey from Visa revealed:

Washington is lucky to have two legislators promoting financial education — Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37th Dist,) here in Olympia and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) representing our state in Washington, D.C. Both have proposed bills (SHB1347 and the Financial and Economic Literacy Improvement Act of 2009) that could put financial education in classrooms.

“We used to say the three ‘R’s’ of school are reading, writing, and arithmetic. I think we need to add a fourth ‘R’ – resource management,” Senator Murray said. “That’s why I have introduced legislation that will help ensure that Americans of all ages get the skills they need to make financial decisions that will protect them and their families. The Financial and Economic Literacy Improvement Act of 2009 will help us avoid many of the same mistakes that led to this recession by providing educational resources to help Americans manage their finances. I’m so pleased to be joining Governor Gregoire and Representative Tomiko Santos in highlighting this important issue during Financial Literacy Month and beyond.”

“Today’s economy underscores the importance for our children to have the financial education necessary to make critical personal and professional decisions that affect their lives and their communities,” Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37th Dist.) said. “House Bill 1347 will ensure that Washington State students meet the highest national standards for financial literacy and help direct teachers toward effective curricula and classroom-based practices. Parents and other adults can support students in their learning by engaging the whole family in a variety of activities and workshops available during Financial Literacy Month and by encouraging dinner table discussions throughout the year about savings, spending, and long-term goal setting.”

Governor Chris Gregoire declared April as Washington’s Financial Literacy Month and it’s a great time to make sure you and your family are making sound financial decisions. The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) is working with several financial education partners throughout Washington to encourage statewide participation in Financial Literacy Month activities.

Whether you are looking for basic budgeting tips, classes on investing or help with your taxes, Washington financial education partners are here for you! Visit the Washington Financial Literacy Calendar to find a Financial Literacy Month event near you. For example:

DFI urges all Washington residents to make a commitment to take at least one step toward becoming more financially educated this month.

About DFI
www.dfi.wa.gov ▪ 360.902-8700 ▪ 877.746-4334
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions regulates a variety of financial service providers such as banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers, consumer loan companies, payday lenders and securities brokers and dealers. The department has won numerous awards for its financial literacy and outreach programs developed to protect consumers from financial fraud. In addition to posting information about licensees and administrative actions, the DFI’s Web site features consumer tips on a variety of financial fraud-related topics. DFI also hosts a financial education blog http://finlit.blogspot.com/, a financial education Twitter page http://twitter.com/fined4all, a financial education YouTube page (where we've compiled a host of financial education videos from a variety of reliable resources) http://www.youtube.com/wadfi and a financial education calendar for Washington State http://dfi.wa.gov/financial-education/calendar.htm. Consumer information is updated regularly at http://twitter.com/dficonsumers.