My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

I believe that financial literacy is essential to achieving independence in almost every aspect of life because in order to make sound financial decisions in life, we must have a solid understanding of how money works. Throughout my banking and civic careers, financial literacy has remained a topic of great importance to me.
My Money
As a father of four, my wife and I began teaching our children at an early age about the importance of money management. During my tenure as a professional banker, I worked to make sure that programs and services were available to meet the financial needs of the community. Now, as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, I have made it my mission to ensure that every Floridian has access to meaningful tools that help improve their knowledge of money, banks, investing, and debt.

Furthermore, it has been my own experiences that have led me to build upon the existing financial literacy programs offered through our Department. I believe that financial literacy is ultimately achieved through awareness, education and above all, access. As Florida’s population continues to grow and become more diverse, we must work together to establish programs that improve the lives of our residents, regardless of socioeconomic status, age, or ability.

In this spirit, we’ve established partnerships across Florida, with many organizations, including the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Florida Department of Education, Governor’s Commission on Jobs, Agency for Persons with Disabilities, The ARC, Disability Rights Florida, the National Disability Institute, and The Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology to create a free, brand-new financial literacy program for individuals with developmental disabilities called My Money.

The purpose of the My Money program is to offer a holistic approach to learning — to help others understand that financial literacy involves more parts and components than just numbers. Not only will it offer important financial skills while also providing resources to family members, support providers, and caregivers, but the program also includes educational lessons on money basics, safety, banks, and features other tools like how-to videos and games.

Families, support providers, and caregivers can use the material to access resources and contacts from other government agencies, such as the Social Security Administration and the Florida Department of Children and Families. The program also provides guidelines on how to apply for a new type of savings account called Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Savings Accounts, which helps individuals with developmental disabilities to bank more independently. Most importantly, the material is designed to reach individuals of all ages and ability levels.

This initiative is another positive stride made to create increased education opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities. I am proud of our collaborative efforts to establish such a vital financial program for our state. Not only are we able to increase awareness, educate, and create information that is accessible, we will be able to help people improve their lives. These are the kinds of outcomes that I strive for as a public official.

I hope that you will join me in learning more about the My Money program. Please take advantage of the program material, as well as other vital financial literacy information by visiting our Your Money Matter$ website at www.myfloridacfo.com/YMM.

Sincerely,

Jeff
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida


CFO Atwater discusses the Mock Insurance VillageMock Insurance Village Showcases Consumer Help Post-Storm

Last week, CFO Jeff Atwater and the Department of Financial Services along with Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier hosted a mock insurance village showcasing post-catastrophe resources that would be deployed in the wake of a real event. Representatives from the Division of Consumer Services were joined by numerous insurance carriers to showcase their ability to assist consumers with claims questions and filings in the event that telephone and internet communications are lost due to a major storm. As a result, an abundance of valuable information and resources were shared to strengthen our state's emergency response efforts.

Florida's Bottom Line: Florida's Water Infrastructure

Steve Crisafulli on Florida's Water InfrastructureFlorida Representative Steve Crisafulli guest authored a column about Florida's water infrastructure in the most recent edition of Florida's Bottom Line. Here is an excerpt:

Water is one of the most precious resources we have. Without access to clean water, we have no agriculture, no food, no recreation, and no way to live our lives.

Look at California to see the cost of not having a smart, science-based water policy. California is experiencing one of the worst droughts in the state’s history and is facing critical water supply problems. California’s drought has had a significant impact on their economy and way of life. In the last two years, their agriculture industry lost nearly $5 billion and 35,000 jobs. Over 564,000 acres of land went unplanted last year.

We simply cannot afford that here in Florida. However, we face water quality challenges from Lake Okeechobee to the Indian River to Apalachicola Bay. And, we face a rapidly increasing population that is expected to require an extra 1.3 billion gallons of water per day by 2030. With that in mind, the Florida Legislature this year passed SB 552, a comprehensive water policy bill, which will allow us to address Florida’s water challenges today before they become crises in the future.

Read more about Florida's water infrastructure in Florida's Bottom Line, CFO Atwater's award-winning quarterly economic magazine, focused on providing you with the latest news and insightful analysis on Florida's financial and economic health.

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida’s housing market continues strong growth in August
In August, the median sales price of homes rose 12.6 percent over the year, to $225,000. Additionally, more than 25,000 homes were sold in Florida, up 8.2 percent from this time last year.
Source: Florida Realtors

Florida’s new home construction permits up robustly over the year
In August, Florida’s new home construction permits rose 18.7 percent over the month and 45.1 percent over the year. Higher numbers of home-building permits indicate a growing supply of homes for sale in the future.
Source: U.S. Census