Washington partners celebrate April as financial capability month by promoting financial education for all residents

The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) is pleased to be one of the many partners celebrating April 2018 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 Treasurer’s Office, 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.

“Helping Washington residents improve their financial skills and capabilities is part of DFI’s core mission,” DFI Director Gloria Papiez said. “When more residents understand how to make sound financial decisions and avoid financial fraud, they can protect themselves — and our state as a whole is stronger.”

Washington State Treasurer Duane Davidson agrees.

“I strongly believe in empowering all Washington citizens with a firm understanding of financial capability,” Treasurer Davidson said. “This knowledge should begin early on in our schools and continue throughout our lives as adults as we take on more responsibility. By having these skills as a foundation, our citizens can make wise financial decisions and avoid unnecessary pitfalls.”

I will tell you the secret to getting rich on Wall Street. You try to be greedy when others are fearful. And you try to be fearful when others are greedy.      –Warren Buffett

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 2018 Survey of the States by the Council for Economic Education (https://www.councilforeconed.org/policy-and-advocacy/survey-of-the-states-2/) only 1/3 of the states in our country require students to take a personal finance class prior to graduation – and only seven require classroom testing related to personal finance.

The 2017 Financial Literacy Survey conducted by Harris Poll for BECU and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (https://www.nfcc.org/data/) showed only 40% of adults in Northwest (Seattle, Spokane, Portland) had and stuck to a budget, and 39% carried credit card debt.

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Though Washington State recently adopted K-12 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 have financial education conversations – in classrooms and at home,” FEPPP Chair Representative Monica Stonier (D-49th) said. “Even basic personal finance has the potential to 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.

“The coalition partners at Jump$tart Washington recognize that we can’t get it all done alone, but we can get a lot done together,” Jump$tart Washington President Karl Kaluza noted. “We bring together a coalition of dedicated educators and professionals from a cross-section of nonprofit, business, government, community-based organizations. It’s our diversity of interests and values focused on financial education that allows us to best serve the financial literacy needs of students in our state.”

It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.
–Seneca

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 “Ella Earns Her Own Money” by Lisa Bullard and talk about the importance of making wise money decisions.

Several community leaders have committed to reading this year, including:

Washington State Treasurer Duane Davidson

Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal

FEPPP Chief Administrative Officer Tracy Godat

DFI Director Gloria Papiez

DFI Director of Banks Roberta Hollinshead

Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith at Lynnwood Elementary School

Yelm Mayor JW Foster at Fort Stevens Elementary School

Sammamish Mayor Christie Malchow at Samantha Smith Elementary

Spokane Valley Councilmember Linda Thompson at Adams Elementary School

Benton City Councilmember Lisa Stade at Kiona Benton City Intermediate School

In addition to providing information online and free workshops in communities throughout Washington, 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.

- Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI)

I made my money the old-fashioned way. I was very nice to a wealthy relative right before he died.    –Malcolm Forbes