My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

In my role as Chief Financial Officer, I am offered an inside look at how financial education can benefit a family—and how a lack of financial understanding can work to a family’s detriment as well. The need for greater financial literacy has never been more clear than it is now, and never more necessary than with our children in the classroom. Learn to Save Challenge

It is crucial to our children’s long-term financial well-being that we begin engaging in larger conversations on topics like saving and money management. Studies have shown that students by and large lack a basic level of financial literacy—a gap that will become more and more evident as they enter adulthood.

This month, we’re launching a "learn to save" challenge—aptly named because that’s exactly what we’re trying to teach to our children. Parents and teachers are aware that students respond best to activities that are interactive and visually appealing. That’s why this challenge is different. Instead of asking students to write an essay, we’re asking them to show us what saving means to them. Middle school students will use the financial literacy tools and resources provided by my Department to design a billboard that illustrates their understanding of this key concept. Later this year, we will select winners from across our state and award cash prizes—prizes I hope they’ll choose to save. High school students have the same opportunity, but we’re asking them to utilize our tools to create a 30-second video public service announcement.

To further showcase the winners’ work, we’re engaging with our partners to secure promotional awards for each winner, to include displaying the billboard in their local area and securing air time on a local public broadcast TV channel for their video PSA.

This contest is open to all middle and high school students—public, private and home schooled—and I hope you’ll consider encouraging your child to enter. This is an interactive way to teach children valuable lessons, and I hope that it will kick start more of these conversations in your home. All of my children have now outgrown the parameters of this contest in particular, but my wife and I continue to talk with them about the importance of smart financial decisions as they progress through college and beyond.

For a complete list of rules, a map of the contest regions and to submit an entry, visit


Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Florida's Potential for Trade

In Florida, global trade means high-wage jobs and economic opportunity. With 80 percent of global purchasing power, 92 percent of economic growth and 95 percent of the world’s consumers outside of the United States, the potential that international trade can bring is enormous. In fact, international business already accounts for about 16 percent of Florida’s economy.

Florida Chamber of Commerce GraphicRead more about the potential for trade in Florida from Alice E. Ancona, the Director of Global Outreach for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, in the summer edition of Florida's Bottom Line, CFO Atwater’s quarterly economic magazine. The summer issue focuses on Florida's international trade, one of the most important elements of Florida’s economy as it embodies the global success of businesses across the state.

In addition, Florida's Bottom Line website keeps you up-to-date on Florida's economy and finances in between quarterly editions. Past editions, special reports, infographics and news archives reflect the recent flow of Florida facts and economic attitudes.

Florida Economic Briefs

National GDP increases in second quarter
U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased 3.7 percent in the second quarter, which is significantly higher than growth in the first quarter (+0.6 percent). This increase is a reflection of positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures, exports, state and local government spending, and investment.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Florida’s consumer confidence up in August
Consumer confidence among Floridians rose slightly in August. Expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next year and the next five years increased over the month.
Source: Bureau of Economic and Business Research, University of Florida