Thursday, May 04, 2006

Informational. Financial Literacy

In 2003, Congress established the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (the Commission) through passage of the Financial Literacy and Education Improvement Act under Title V of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-159). The Commission has recently published an in-depth review of financial literacy in America. The 160-page report is available on the Government web site, linked below. Improved financial literacy among all Americans requires an increased public awareness of the issues, as well as the many state, local, and national resources that are available for financial education.The Financial Literacy and Education Commission has established an information distribution infrastructure which will help increase public awareness of the resources available within the Federal government by establishing, a clearinghouse for financial literacy materials. This Web site contains links to free financial literacy and educational material produced by Commission members. also provides links to selected .edu sites maintained by publicly funded colleges and universities affiliated with the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), as well as .org sites affiliated with government entities such as the Federal Reserve Banks, to ensure that valuable financial information and learning tools are available from sites beyond Federal government agencies. The goal of the Web site is to provide a convenient and accessible source for credible and free resources. The Web site now contains useful information for individuals who are facing an array of financial needs, such as balancing a checking account, shopping for a mortgage or auto loan, researching ways to pay for a college education, reviewing credit card statements, putting money away for retirement, understanding a credit report, or simply deciding whether to pay cash or to charge a purchase. It contains information on how to understand, evaluate, and compare financial products, services, and opportunities and assists investors in understanding how to proceed when they encounter difficulties with market intermediaries.Although the Web site is arranged to be accessible and helpful to consumers, it also will make it easier for community educators and nonprofit organizations to find and use those same resources, reducing costs of needless duplication.

Sherry Burlingame