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CFO Atwater Invites Teens to Submit Essay Describing Strategies to Meet Financial Goals as Part of Statewide Essay Contest


Contact: Anna Alexopoulos
(850) 413-2842
TALLAHASSEE- As part of his mission to educate Floridians about critical financial issues that affect the security and prosperity of their futures and families, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced the launch of his Florida Students $ave Essay Contest.  The contest will award hundreds of dollars to Florida students who present the best research and planning in response to scenarios that reflect short- and long-term financial goals.
“There is no greater responsibility than to prepare our teens for the opportunities and challenges that the future holds,” said CFO Jeff Atwater.  “The goal of our essay contest is to motivate young people to develop personal financial skills and better prepare them for college and the workplace.”
The Department of Financial Services, which CFO Atwater oversees, is sponsoring the essay contest in partnership with Florida Master Money Mentors, The James Madison Institute, and the Florida Council on Economic Education. The contest is part of CFO Atwater’s Your Money Matter$ financial education initiative that aims to help all Floridians strengthen their financial knowledge.
Starting today, Florida students enrolled in grades 9-12 of a Florida educational program (public, private, charter, virtual or homeschool) for the 2012-13 school year can submit an essay of up to 1200 words online at for a chance to win a first-place prize of $250.  Second- and third-place winners will receive $150 and $50 respectively. Three winners will be chosen from each of five regions across Florida:  Northwest Florida, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and South Florida. 
The Florida Master Money Mentor program, which will be donating the contest prizes, provides financial education to rural and low-to-moderate-income Florida families.   Dr. Michael Gutter, Associate Professor, University of Florida, said, "In order to help prepare our next generation for success, it is important that we encourage young Floridians to think about their personal finances; that is an important goal of the outreach we do in our Florida $aves and Florida Master Money Mentor programs. We are proud to help sponsor the essay contest."
The James Madison Institute is a Florida-based research and educational organization whose mission is to keep the citizens of Florida informed about their government. “We commend CFO Atwater for holding this important essay contest for students, and we are delighted to serve as a co-sponsor,” said Bob McClure, President of the James Madison Institute. 
“We congratulate CFO Atwater and the Department of Financial Services for creating this contest to encourage students to think and write about investing in their future,” said Robin Warren, Executive Director of the Florida Council on Economic Education.
Contest rules, essay guidance and options, and a map of contest regions are available at Essays must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST on November 30, 2012.  Winners will be announced in February 2013.
To find out more information about the essay contest, including a list of contest rules, regions and how to submit an essay, visit or you may call the Division of Consumer Services helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236).
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services.  CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending.