STATE LAWMAKERS APPROVE LEGISLATION TO IMPROVE FINANCIAL LITERACY
Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer, applauded state lawmakers
in both the House and Senate for passing legislation he proposed to boost
financial literacy efforts in Florida. The legislation creates a Financial
Literacy Council to serve as a central resource for consumers and small
businesses on financial issues. Gallagher said he proposed the measure in
response to polls showing too many Floridians are in precarious financial
condition and are waiting too long to plan for their future.
“Data shows that one-third of Floridians have more debt than savings and are
not saving enough to retire,” said Gallagher. “The Financial Literacy
Council will serve as central resource and clearinghouse for families and
small businesses to obtain the information and resources they need to make
informed financial decisions.”
The new law creates a ten-member Financial Literacy Council headed by the
Chief Financial Officer which would study the problems that affect
consumers, particularly small businesses, young people, and seniors. It
would be charged with creating a comprehensive state resource to provide
financial planning assistance to Floridians. The resource will include
user-friendly information on savings, loans, investment products, managing
debt, and planning for college expenses and retirement.
The committee will also conduct outreach to assure consumers are made aware
of the financial tools it develops through both web-based media, written
educational materials and by holding public meetings around the state.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Jeff Atwater and Rep. Thad Altman. Sen.
Atwater said, “This resource will help our seniors navigate the often
confusing choices they face in funding their retirement and more importantly
will steer them away from poor investments that rob them of their savings.”
“Floridians need a resource that can provide easy-to-understand, common
sense financial information from a source that isn’t looking to sell them
something” said Rep. Altman. “That is what this legislation aims to create
for our state’s consumers.”
The Financial Literacy Council would consist of nine members appointed by
the CFO. The committee members would be required to represent the state’s
cultural, ethnic and geographic makeup and will be drawn from various areas
of the financial industry, the senior population and the public.