My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

April is Financial Literacy month and as your Chief Financial Officer, I feel it is important for Floridians of all ages to have access to financial education information. That is why I created Your Money Matters, an interactive website that has useful Your Money Matterstips to help you and your family build financial success. The site has calculators that will walk you through the fundamentals of creating a budget and teaching you how to develop savings plans to achieve your long-term financial goals.

It is quite possible that there may be no greater need for financial literacy education than with today’s youth, who will soon be tomorrow’s leaders. According to a 2012 study, one in five 15-year-olds in the United States does not meet a basic level of financial literacy. Before heading off to college or starting their careers, it is vital that all of Florida’s students understand the basics of how to manage their finances. That is why I support educating our students about the true value of money and the importance of saving, so that they have the knowledge to make a lifetime of sound financial decisions.

Financial FootballWhile conversations about finances may be serious, we have achieved success by approaching the topic in a way that engages this digital generation - through fun and interactive yet still educational games. One such game, sponsored by Visa and the National Football League, places students at the helm of a professional football team and creates a fun way to teach students about being financially responsible. Financial Football allows the whole family to compete and learn about a wide range of financial skills categories including saving and spending; budgeting; understanding the difference among credit, debit, and prepaid cards; and the meaning of creditworthiness.

When we are responsible with our money, everyone wins. It is never too early or too late to plan for your own financial future. Whether you are just entering the work force, or enjoying the rewards of retirement, there’s always an opportunity to expand your financial education. I encourage all Floridians to take Financial Literacy Month as an opportunity to do so.

Sincerely,

Jeff
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida


News of Interest

Orlando Business Journal: Snaith: Florida's economy experiencing March Madness, Disney-style

Orlando Business Journal: Florida's income outpacing national average, new study shows

Fox Business: Florida's The Villages is the fastest-growing city in America

South Florida Sun Sentinel: Floridians spending more as gas prices stay low

USA Today: New kind of identity theft you haven't heard of

WBUR: Census: Florida nets biggest population gains

CalculatorFinancial Tip of the Week

The 50/20/30 Rule This savings calculator will show you the future value of your current savings and any lump sum deposits you make.

Are you allocating your money wisely? Each person’s situation is different; however, there is a general rule when it comes to appropriating your money so it’s working for you. Budgeting is important when it comes to paying off debts and saving for the future. Using the 50/20/30 rule, divide your income into three categories: essentials, financial priorities and flexible spending. Half goes to food, rent and other essentials; 20 percent goes toward paying off debt and into savings; 30 percent goes to flexible spending. The less you spend now, the more you will have in savings for tomorrow.

Division of Insurance Fraud badgeFour Pinellas County Residents Arrested for Insurance Fraud

The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud recently announced the arrests of four Pinellas County residents for insurance fraud. The four men are accused of intentionally damaging two tow trucks owned by Jimmy’s Towing and Recovery and fraudulently collecting more than $40,000 in insurance payments. The two insurance claims were paid to Jimmy’s Towing and Recovery and dispensed to the four suspects.

Anyone with information about suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0445. Citizens who provide tips can remain anonymous. The Department of Financial Services has awarded $365,000 to 63 citizens as part of its Anti-Fraud Reward Program. The program rewards individuals up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction in an insurance fraud scheme.

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida’s unemployment rate down in February
Florida’s unemployment rate was 5.6 percent in February, down 0.1 percentage point from January (5.7 percent) and down 0.9 percentage point from a year ago (6.5 percent). The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in February, down 0.2 percentage point from January (5.7 percent) and down 1.2 percentage points from February 2014 (6.7 percent).
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Consumer Sentiment reaches highest reading in 10 years
Consumer sentiment among Floridians increased in March to the highest reading in 10 years. The Florida Consumer Sentiment Index rose 3 points over the month, showing increases in all five components. The largest increases were in perceptions as to whether it is a good time to buy a big ticket item, such as a car or appliance.
Source: University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research

Stop Adult Financial Exploitation

Operation S.A.F.E.Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater invites you to participate in Operation S.A.F.E., Be Scam Smart, a free workshop for seniors, their families, and caregivers.

The Florida Department of Financial Services launched Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) as part of CFO Atwater’s On Guard for Seniors initiative. Be Scam Smart workshops help inform, empower, and protect Florida’s seniors from financial scams and fraud. If you want to make sure your savings are protected, register for this workshop and get a better understanding of how scam artists and scams work.

Be Scam Smart by learning more about:

  • The Psychology of a Scam
  • How to Spot Fraudulent Behavior
  • Common Scams that Target Seniors
  • How to Fight Identity Theft
  • Resources to Keep You Safe

Find out more about us in the About Us section or Register for an upcoming event, including the following workshops:

  • Tuesday, April 7th - North Palm Beach
    10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
    Anchorage Park Activities Building
    603 Anchorage Drive, North Palm Beach, Florida 33408
    Register | Directions | Flyer


  • Wednesday, April 8th - Altamonte Springs
    10:00 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
    One Senior Place
    715 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714
    Register | Directions | Flyer

Florida's Bottom Line Website Resources

Issued quarterly, Florida’s Bottom Line is Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater’s economic magazine, focused on providing you with the latest news and insightful analysis on Florida's economic and financial health.

The Florida's Bottom Line website provides up-to-date financial graphs on Florida's economy, following foreclosures, the retail index, the leading index and consumer sentiment. The state of Florida's job market is followed through graphs on the unemployment rate, job growth, industry, and labor force statistics. In addition to providing information graphically, recent financial news, infographics, special reports, small business resources, and a financial toolbox are also available online. All the editions of Florida's Bottom Line are archived and available free of charge to read or print.


InfoGraphic InfoGraphic InfoGraphic InfoGraphic

Take a look at these informative infographics and click on the image for a closer inspection.