My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

As 2015 comes to a close, I am sure many of you are looking back at the past 12 months, just as I am. It’s important to examine the past for multiple reasons: to reflect on the highs and lows and the special moments with loved ones, to make plans to grow our successful endeavors even further and to study our histories so that we may not be doomed to repeat mistakes. Each of these actions serve important purposes in our lives.

As you reflect, I encourage you to take stock of where you stand financially. There is always room to improve, which is why it is important to see if you are where you want to be when it comes to your savings, credit goals and investments. Your Money Matters

If your focus for 2016 is to build your savings, have a plan and make saving a priority. Decide what it is you’re saving for, create a timeline for when you want to have the specified amount saved, create a budget to match that timeline and stick to it vigilantly. Setting a tangible goal and writing it down will help you keep your eyes on the prize. Visit our Your Money Matter$ page to learn more about saving, compound interest, savings accounts and to review helpful tools.

Another worthy goal for the New Year is to overcome bad credit. Credit can be a positive tool in your financial tool belt and can be used to work for you. Remember the three C’s of credit when considering your options: character, capital and capacity. These factors determine your credit score, which signals your ability to repay credit. You can learn more about the three C’s and using your credit wisely here.

Savings and credit are affected by our ability to budget. Our Your Money Matter$ website has many calculators to assist with budgeting that I encourage you to try. It is my hope that all Floridians take their finances seriously, as our finances have a lifelong impact on us and our loved ones. Remember this as you go into the New Year.

Carole and I hope your New Year is full of happiness, health and, of course, financial wellness! Here’s to a wonderful 2016!

Sincerely,

Jeff
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida


News of Interest

Health News Florida: Lawmakers, Atwater look at pulling plug on 'PIP'

Tampa Bay Times: 20,271,272 living the Florida dream

Money: Small businesses need to act fast to get this huge Christmas present

Florida TaxWatch: 2015 job growth leads to record-high employment in Florida

Tampa Bay Times: Editorial: Florida remains the land of hope and dreams

Tampa Tribune: Florida is ground zero for alternative flood insurance program

USA Today: Rise in startups is good omen for the economy

The Florida Rundown - Tools for Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy - a variety of resourcesCFO Atwater's Department of Financial Services Division of Consumer Services keeps a finger on the pulse of Florida’s insurance consumers and helps keep Floridians informed about the insurance industry and responsible personal money management. A variety of resources and interactive tools on our website cover consumer-oriented topics to help keep Florida’s families and individuals informed through all walks of life.

The Florida Rundown updates you on the highlights of the last year. The hope is that, after reading this, you’ll feel confident that Florida is on the right track. We’re working hard to safeguard Florida’s future and to make sure everyone knows that Florida is the very best place to live, work and call home.

Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Florida

Entrepreneurial EcosystemFrom Dr. Thomas O'Neal's article: We have new initiatives that focus on capital. The Florida Angel Nexus is tackling the issue of funding for new ventures, which helps us meet our goal of keeping our best opportunities in Florida rather than have them leave the state in an attempt to obtain funding for their venture.

We have also enlightened advocates for creating this environment. From the very top of Florida government to the smallest chambers of commerce, they understand the criticality of creating an evolving, state-wide ecosystem. They support these efforts and initiatives in earnest to create the compelling stories that are necessary to move Florida's economic needle.

Read more from Dr. Thomas O'Neal in the current edition of Florida's Bottom Line, plus many more Florida economic articles of interest.

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida's new home construction permits up over the year
Florida's new home construction permits rose 52 percent over the year in November. In November, there were 8,127 new construction permits, 10.3 percent less than last month (9,062) and up 52 percent from November of 2014 (5,348).
Source: U.S. Census

Florida's housing market increases over the year
In November, there were over 18,000 closed home sales in Florida, up 1.9 percent from this time last year. Additionally, the median sale price is up 13.6 percent over the year, to $200,000.
Source: Florida Realtors