My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

Imagine trying to balance your family’s budget and make sure all of your bills get paid on time without having access to your online banking for 12 or even 18 months. Imaging trying to buy a house without having your spouse available for moral support, advice, or decision-making assistance.

These are a few of the challenges faced by military families every single day. Financial FrontlinesNot to mention, servicemembers are also at a higher risk of having their identity stolen and falling victim to predatory lending scams.

While working to keep our country safe at home and abroad, members of our military have a lot on their plates. When you couple the stresses of their mission-critical jobs with the stresses of managing a family’s finances, it can become overwhelming. To help ease these concerns and to provide information on the helpful programs that are available to military families, my office created Financial Frontlines.

You’ve likely read about this program before in earlier editions of our newsletter. However, with July 20 being Military Consumer Protection Day, I wanted to help paint a better picture of what our office has to offer.

Military Consumer Protection DayFor example, did you know that what many of us think is a predatory loan is actually legal? These loans, full of hidden fees and higher interest rates, may seem like a quick fix, but they are far from being in your best interest. Sadly, military families are highly targeted for these types of loans and estimates put the added and excessive fees at $80 million a year. Have you ever noticed the number of payday lending businesses located near military bases? It’s not by accident.

We can help your son or daughter, husband or wife spot these tactics before they fall into the trap of quick cash.

With more than 58,000 military servicemembers on 21 military bases, Florida is home to a robust military population. Just like the civilian population, studies show that these brave men and women sometimes struggle with setting a household budget. This can lead to added debt. In fact, some studies show that military families have a debt-to-income-ratio of 46.5 percent, a number higher than most average non-military households.

We can help you or your loved one learn ways to track spending, auto-save, and build an emergency surplus account.

For all that members of our armed forces do for us, we owe it to them to help give back. Encourage the military servicemember in your life to visit our website to learn more. It’s simple, free, and accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Be S.A.F.E., Be Scam Smart

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:

  • Presentado en Español
    Miércoles, 20 de julio – Orlando
    10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
    LIBRE Initiative Presentation Room
    5732 S. Semoran Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32822
    Register | Directions | Flyer

  • Thursday, July 21st – Ormond Beach
    10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
    City Commission Chambers
    22 S. Beach Street, Ormond Beach, FL 32174
    Register | Directions | Flyer

Florida's Bottom Line: Three Questions with
Scott J. Brown, Ph.D., is the Chief Economist at Raymond James Financial.Scott J. Brown, Ph.D.

Scott J. Brown, Ph.D., guest authored a column in our latest edition that focuses on financial markets. Here is his answer to one of the three questions we posed.

Florida's Bottom Line: Which recent financial market drivers are likely to impact Florida?

Florida’s economy faces many of the same challenges as the national economy. Over the last several quarters, the dollar has strengthened against most other currencies, while the price of oil and other commodities have fallen sharply. In addition, concerns about tighter monetary policy and the possibility of recession have unnerved investors. These developments have had a mixed impact on Florida’s economy, and bear watching closely in the months ahead.

Read more from Dr. Brown 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 economic and financial health.

Florida Economic Briefs

National unemployment rate up in June
In June, the national unemployment rate was at 4.9 percent, up 0.2 percentage points from the previous month and down 0.4 percentage points from last year (5.3 percent). Florida’s unemployment rate for June will be released on July 22.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Small business optimism increases in June
Small business optimism increased last month according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business. Of the ten components that make up the index, four of them increased over the month, three decreased, and three remained unchanged.
Source: National Federation of Independent Business