OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) is pleased to be one of the many partners celebrating April 2017 as Financial Capability Month in our state. Understanding the importance of financial education, Washington Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed April as Financial Capability Month.
This month presents opportunities for partners like DFI, the Jump$tart Washington Coalition and the Financial Education Public-Private Partnership (FEPPP) to highlight and support the work being done to increase and improve financial education in our state - and assist the many educators and organizations currently providing financial education to Washington residents.
“Working to enhance financial education and improve the financial capability of Washington residents is a part of DFI’s core mission to protect and educate the public while promoting economic vitality,” DFI Director Gloria Papiez said. “When residents understand how to make sound financial decisions and avoid financial fraud, our state as a whole is stronger.”
With organizations regularly assessing our nation's financial literacy, results continue to illustrate the need for personal finance education – in school and at home: According to the January 2016 American Express Spending and Saving Tracker Survey (January 12, 2016):
- Americans say saving more money remains the number one resolution for 2016 (51% vs. 58% in 2015), beating out exercising more, eating healthier, and losing weight.
Research from National Endowment for Financial Education has more bad news (December 2015):
- When faced with an unforeseen major expense (of which two thirds said they experienced in 2015), one in three (31%) Americans will rely on credit cards to offset costs.
Junior Achievement/The Allstate Foundation report (March 25, 2015):
- 84% of teens report looking to their parents for information on how to manage money, but 34% of parents says their family’s approach to financial matters is to not discuss finances with their children and “let kids be kids.”
Though Washington State recently adopted financial education standards, this lifelong learning topic is not yet a statewide requirement. Many teachers do, however, provide financial education in their classrooms, and FEPPP is training more teachers ever year how to integrate financial education into their existing coursework.
“Financial Capability Month is the perfect time to start the Financial Education conversation,” FEPPP Chair Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos said. “Bringing financial education into our schools ensures that every student gets lessons in managing their finances. Even basic personal finance could change a student’s life, as well as the lives of those they pass their knowledge on to.”
Representatives from local community groups, financial institutions, not-for-profit organizations, businesses, schools, libraries, government agencies and media outlets will conduct classes, seminars and other activities to educate consumers about money management and generating awareness of financial education available on a wide range of topics.
Kicking off Financial Capability month, teachers and community leaders began signing up to participate in the Jump$tart Washington Coalition’s Reading Days. Reading Days brings community leaders into elementary schools to read “Isabel’s Car Wash” by Sheila Bair and talk about the importance of making wise money decisions. This year’s participants include:
- Washington State Treasurer Duane Davidson at Tumwater Hill Elementary School (date TBD).
- Bellingham City Council Member April Barker at Lowell Elementary School (date TBD).
- Bothell City Councilman James McNeal (date TBD) at Moorlands Elementary, two third grade classes.
- Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent, April 26, at West Hills S.T.E.M. Academy, all third grade classes.
- Director of Credit Unions Linda Jekel, April 28, at Pioneer Elementary School, third and fourth grade classes.
- FEPPP Chief Administrative Officer Tracy Godat, April 24, at L.P. Brown Elementary, first grade.
“In addition to providing information online and free workshops in communities throughout Washington,” Papiez added, “DFI continues to seek additional collaborative partnerships to foster further implementation of financial education for all residents at every stage of life — from pre-K to assisted living.”
DFI’s Financial Education Clearinghouse www.dfi.wa.gov/financial-education provides access to resources - from budgeting and saving, credit and debt, to health care and mortgages, and has a special section on avoiding scams – into a single site.
For more information about DFI outreach, workshops, partners, programs and information, visit www.dfi.wa.gov/financial-education/ and follow us on Twitter @DFIConsumers and @FinEd4All and Facebook www.facebook.com/wadfi.