PHOENIX (March 31, 2009) – Aspiring entrepreneurs and teens take notice; today’s economy is the perfect time to start the next Microsoft or FedEx. In fact, recessions have historically been a benefit to dozens of world-wide companies including Burger King, FedEx, Microsoft, LexisNexis, CNN, GE and Wikipedia. What most individuals forget is there is no age requirement or employee record necessary to begin tomorrow’s next biggest venture. In fact, many multi-million dollar corporations are founded by a younger generation every day. Teens around the country should be adopting the entrepreneur mindset and connecting with each other to fuel their success, according to www.youthpreneur.com. “Every teen can be an entrepreneur; they just need the education and confidence to get going,” said Sharon Lechter, Founder of YOUTHpreneur, a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy and co-author of the international best-selling book Rich Dad Poor Dad. That is where YOUTHpreneur steps in and teaches teens the core lessons of money and how to run a business with an easy to understand business kit. Even more important, www.youthpreneur.com provides teens a social network to connect with each other, share ideas and potentially form ground breaking partnerships. YOUTHpreneur also teaches the value of charity and giving back to the community – it instills philanthropy, confidence and builds lifelong community champions. Parents and grandparents can take a crucial role in ensuring their children are financially fit and educated. Experts say parents find success when they use current situations or “teachable moments” to explain important things or life skills to their children. April is Financial Literacy Month, and now is a crucial time to give our children the gift that will last them a lifetime – financial education. Teens and parents can follow @YOUTHpreneur on Twitter to receive financial tips every day during the month of April. The YOUTHpreneur business kit walks teens through ways to start a business with a friendly curriculum and gives them the tools they need to succeed. YOUTHpreneur also has ready-to-go businesses for the teen that wants to get started making money quickly. YOUTHpreneur partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Phoenix and Fry’s Food and Drug to conduct a gumball machine business pilot program. Dozens of kids participated in the test program with the goal of placing their gumball machines in a local business, monitoring its success, maintaining it and competing with each other to generate the most revenue. All proceeds went directly to fund other Boys & Girls club programs. Participants also learned business etiquette skills by practicing BE FAB: Back Straight, Eye Contact, Firm Hand Shake, Ask Questions, Be Bold. “We all learn best through experiential learning and it shows kids they can start small and then grow,” Lechter said. Twelve year old Bryce, who participated in the test program, found it “interesting to learn how to start and run a business. Plus, it’s a good thing to stick with something and see it through – that’s what my parents tell me.” “We have seen great success with the YOUTHpreneur program,” said Amy Gibbons, President and Executive Director for Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix. “Participating teens have learned valuable financial principles through easy to grasp activities and curriculum that truly helps prepare them for a better future. We are grateful to be able to provide this program to our youth.” For more information about YOUTHpreneur, BE FAB or to become involved in the movement, please visit our Web site at www.youthpreneur.com. YOUTHpreneur YOUTHpreneur is igniting the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, today. YOUTHpreneur is providing our children with the financial education they can’t find in their schools today, to ensure they lead financially successful futures tomorrow. Adults deal with money and financial decisions all the time, but a vast majority of them never received any instruction on basic financial concepts and often learned the hard way. YOUTHpreneur provides our children with that education through the use of an innovative business kit, an interactive social network Web site, the tools to start a small business and the confidence to succeed at it. Developed by internationally known financial educator and author Sharon Lechter, YOUTHpreneur teaches children to BE FAB and how to be financially secure for the rest of their lives. To learn more about YOUTHpreneur and become part of the movement, visit the Web site at www.youthpreneur.com.
It is with great pleasure that I am happy to announce a higher education financial literacy bill has been introduced to Congress by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-D). The widely supported bill will require every college student receiving a guaranteed student loan, and every college and university receiving federal funds, to require a four-hour course on financial literacy. Today, we are a step closer to providing the financial education to our children to is necessary for their prolonged success and financial health. Here is a letter from the Office of the Vice President of the President’s Advisory Council on this exciting announcement:
Greetings to Members of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, With great pleasure, I would like to inform you that the financial literacy higher education bill was submitted by U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee on March 5th. HR1325, informed by the President’s Council on Financial Literacy federal policy report to the President, and inspired directly by the new Operation HOPE 5-year partnership with the White House Initiative on HBCU’s, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-D), also chairwoman of the House Children’s Caucus, introduced a widely supported bill that will require every college student receiving a guaranteed student loan, and every college or university receiving federal funds (most of them) to require a 4-hour course in financial literacy. There is also a companion piece that will reasonably compensate non-profit organizations for doing this work.
The 2nd Congressional Briefing to discuss the bill is being planned for April 28th. It is expected to convene at 12 Noon to 1:30 PM, in the Rayburn House Office Building. As the vice chairman of the Council, John Bryant will represent the Council’s interest in presenting its first issued Annual Report to the President to an audience of congressional legislative staff members. A critically important discussion will focus on the financial literacy bill HR1325 and the Council’s recommendations that promote financial literacy among students at the level of post-secondary education. In addition, Michelle Greene, from President Obama’s Administration, is planning to make an appearance. This truly is an exciting moment for all of us and a big step forward. However, much more work needs to be done to ensure that high school students also receive a course in financial education. Hopefully, we can introduce this measure in the hearing.
The media speculates and places blame every day on what they think are the culprits of our current financial troubles and economic recession. Wall Street executives, poor mortgage practices and credit cards have all received their fair share of the blame. However, the media often fails to miss what might be the biggest culprits – consumers! It’s not something we like to think about, but many of us are at blame for our own financial crises because of a lack of financial education. John Hope Bryant, Vice President of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, penned just this thought in yesterday’s Financial Post.
There is one group of primary players, however, who have so far escaped the glare of serious scrutiny and analyses, yet they are likely major contributors to the current problem — consumers, whose spending accounts for more than 70% of economic activity in the United States and almost 59% in Canada. Rather than “blame the victim” of the global crisis, a close look at consumers helps explain why many became victims in a much larger economic meltdown. Consumers of financial products, particularly in the United States, contributed to the economy going off the rails. And the sooner we realize this, the sooner we can act.
If you want to begin to improve the economy, you need to take action on a personal level. Begin to financially educate yourself. Read books, speak with advisors and look at some of the educational Web sites dedicated to helping you. You’ll be on the road to financial freedom the sooner you do. To read the full article, visit the Financial Post.
In the midst of the U.S. financial crisis, individual states and elected officials are taking the steps to mandate some form of financial education curriculum or credit in public schools. Oregon and Kansas both have bills in front of governing bodies to implement financial education. In Kansas, a bill is before the House that would add financial literacy as a part of state standardized testing.
“We cannot repeat what we’ve been going through, and part of it has been the credit crunch and lack of knowledge,” said Sen. Jean Schodorf, R-Wichita, who sponsored Senate Bill 84.
In Oregon, the education board is now considering the recommendations of a year-long study on financial education and civics in high schools across the state.
“You don’t have to look very far for relevancy to see the bad decisions consumers made with these subprime loans,” said Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver, one of the leaders of the effort. “Financial literacy is very important in our society. The education system needs to find some way to provide that to our youth.”
Earlier this year, the President’s Council on Financial Literacy submitted their recommendations to increase financial education for Americans. One of those recommendations was mandated financial education curriculum for all students. These states’ efforts are advancing that goal, but much more needs to be done across the nation. To read the full articles go here: Kansas Senate sends financial literacy measure to House and State board to consider financial literacy requirements.
The need for personal finance in the current economy hasn’t escaped several educators and is now receiving continued national exposure, this time by media news source the Associated Press. In Indiana, high school teacher Daniel Jackson is just one of many educators now discussing mortgage loans, interest rates and more with his students. The AP story cites the recommendations of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy to mandate financial education for students K-12.
The President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy — formed last year to help more people understand basic money ideas — supports requiring financial education in kindergarten through 12th grade. Too many people are obtaining mortgages they don’t understand and can’t afford, while others lack skills to keep a budget, understand credit or save for the future, said Charles R. Schwab, the group’s chairman.
To read the full story, look here.
Sharon spoke with Results Coach Kevin Williams on BlogTalkRadio this week about the state of financial education in America, what we can do to help repair it and the work she has been doing with YOUTHpreneur and the President’s Advisory Council. You can learn more about the program and listen to the entire streaming audio here.
In a recent article by Success Magazine, Sharon helps parents learn how to teach their kids about money and the success they will see from it. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“The more control we have over our money, the less control it will have over you,” says financial expert Sharon Lechter, member of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, author and founder of Youthpreneur, an organization that encourages an entrepreneurial spirit in kids. Lechter says it’s important to teach your kids financial literacy because they see you spend money, but they don’t know how to create it, keep it or invest it. “Kids don’t understand the relevance of earning, saving and spending,” she says. Given the influence of the media and peers on kids today, she recommends starting to teach them about money anywhere from age 4 through 6.
You can read the full article here.
Includes 15 Recommendations for Improving Financial Literacy for All Americans WASHINGTON, D.C. – The bipartisan U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy today announced the publication of its first Annual Report to the President, which contains 15 recommendations for steps that should be taken to improve the financial literacy of Americans of all ages. The 16-member Council unanimously approved the report during its meeting on January 6, 2009, and the full Annual Report is now available here. Among the report’s recommendations are calls for mandating financial education in schools for students in grades K-12; exploring tax incentives to encourage employers to provide financial education in the workplace; increasing access to bank accounts for the tens of millions of unbanked and underserved Americans; conducting research on the state of financial literacy in America and on the most effective ways to improve financial knowledge among Americans; and creating a self-administered “National Financial Literacy Check-Up” that would allow Americans to assess their own financial knowledge and providing links to trustworthy sources of information to help fill in the gaps. “Financial literacy has never been more important than it is today,” said Council Chairman Charles R. Schwab. “There is no question that the lack of personal financial literacy has been a major contributing factor to the economic and financial crisis in the United States. We believe that this report contains recommendations that will help Americans at all stages of life learn the financial basics so that they can manage their own money wisely, save for the future and navigate our complex economy effectively.” “The best response to this crisis is to put in place policies and practices that help to insure that something like this never happens again,” said Council Vice Chairman John Hope Bryant. “Financial literacy empowerment of the individual is key to our future and the Council’s Annual Report to the President speaks to this.” The Council, which is scheduled to remain in place through January 2010, plans to work with Members of Congress, the executive branch, the private sector and faith-based and non-profit organizations in the coming year to implement the recommendations.About the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy The President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy was created by President George W. Bush in January 2008 to advise the President and the Secretary of the Treasury on ways to improve financial literacy among all Americans. The 16-member Council includes representatives of non-profits, private sector companies, academia, state government and other organizations dedicated to the delivery of financial education. More information on the Council can be found at: http://www.treas.gov/PresfinlitCouncil.
The recommendations found in the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy annual report, issued at the close of December, 2008, have been taken to heart by the media. On Tuesday, January 13, U.S. News & World Report reporter Kimberly Palmer wrote the following article, highlighting five of the Council’s recommendations:
5 Ways Obama Can Improve Financial Literacy How the next president should handle the growing financial literacy crisis By Kimberly Palmer The central concept behind new policy recommendations to boost Americans’ financial literacy seems to be this: We’re not stupid; we just haven’t been taught properly. With just days left in the Bush administration, the nonpartisan President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, chaired by Charles Schwab, has made its recommendations for boosting our financial IQ. President Bush created the council a year ago in response to the fact that many Americans struggle with such basic concepts as calculating interest rates and developing a budget. Because the council serves through 2010, members plan to work with the Obama administration to promote financial literacy. The financial crisis has only escalated the enthusiasm for increased financial literacy, says Ted Beck, a member of the council and president of the National Endowment for Financial Education. “It’s one of the greatest teachable moments that’s ever happened,” he says. The recommendations are not without controversy: Some financial experts say that rather than emphasizing financial education in schools, the government should focus on simplifying the financial world so that it’s not so difficult to navigate. Here are five of the council’s recommendations for improving financial literacy:strong>Schools should be required to teach financial education from kindergarten through 12th grade.While research on the impact of financial education has been mixed, the council says schools should adopt money-related curricula. Research by the Charles Schwab brokerage firm has found that many parents don’t talk to their kids about money, and only 1 in 3 had taught their teens how to balance a checkbook, for example. “Standards-based financial education in the classroom helps to level the playing field for students whose parents may have faced financial challenges themselves or who may be among the unbanked or under-banked populations,” the council says. Currently, only a handful of states require students to take personal finance courses. In middle school and high school, students should learn the basic concept behind a budget, developing a savings plan, and wants versus needs, says Beck. But he adds that personal finance classes need not replace other coursework. Instead, Beck says, money lessons can be built into existing classes, such as the social sciences and math. College students should be required to take a course in financial literacy in order to receive federal student loans. Because college students often build up credit-card debt and take out other types of loans, schools should use the opportunity to teach them about money, the council says. Beck says that students at this level should learn how to buy a home, develop a savings plan, and manage loans. Employers should receive tax incentives to teach workers about money. “Financial education is a continuous process,” says Beck. “The playing field changes, so you need a continual flow of information that’s relevant at that time.” That’s why workplace programs that can teach employees about saving for retirement, for example, can make a significant difference. The council says that such programs could boost productivity by reducing stress. “When employees are worried about debt and other personal finance issues, they have more difficulty focusing on their jobs,” says the council, adding that one group estimates that employee financial stress costs businesses about $300 billion a year. The government should create a resource center on its financial literacy website, www.mymoney.gov, for human resources professionals and employers. With all of the information circulating on the Internet and available in the personal finance sections of bookstores, one might think that people have more than enough resources at their fingertips. But the council says that the government is uniquely position to provide employers with a “one-stop” shop for financial education resources. Other websites can be so numerous that they’re “intimidating,” the council says, and some may be sponsored by fraudsters.Financial institutions should be required to provide every adult American with access to a debit-card-accessible bank account. The council wants the 28 million Americans without bank accounts to get one, largely to protect them from high-interest payday lenders and other risks. “Many people have a history where they’re not sure they’d be welcomed by banks,” says Beck, so this recommendation is about making sure all consumers have access to a regulated, insured bank account.
Continued awareness and understanding will help shape a financially literate America. The more individuals these messages can reach, the better. To read the original article, please visit 5 Ways Obama Can Improve Financial Literacy.
AMES, Iowa — Members of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy will host “Financial Literacy in the Heartland” — a special listening forum with invited statewide leaders in financial literacy — on Tuesday, Nov. 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hotel Fort Des Moines. The 16-member President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy was created in January by President George W. Bush with the purpose of assisting Americans in understanding and addressing financial matters. The President and Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson have asked the Advisory Council to work with public and private sectors to help increase financial education efforts for all Americans. In response to that charge, members of the council are hosting “listening sessions” with financial literacy leaders throughout the country. Sponsored jointly by the Iowa State University College of Business and College of Human Sciences, the Greater Iowa Credit Union and the Iowa Credit Union League, the Iowa listening session is being convened by Tahira Hira, ISU professor of personal finance and consumer economics, who serves on President Bush’s Advisory Council. “The information gleaned from these meetings may be applied toward the Advisory Council’s recommendations to the U.S. Treasury Department and ultimately to the President,” Hira said. Dan Iannicola Jr., the U.S. Treasury Department’s deputy assistant secretary for financial education and the executive director of the Advisory Council, will moderate the session. He will also interact with local reporters during a 30-minute media briefing with members of the Advisory Council beginning at 9:15 a.m. “We are in extraordinary economic times,” Iannicola said. “While financial education has long been seen as important, more people are now beginning to see that it is also urgent. With the concerns and questions many consumer have about rapidly changing events, we find ourselves in a national teachable moment for personal finance.” “The President’s Council, through sessions like this, is fulfilling its important mission of gathering insights from people across the country to better inform their recommendations to President Bush and Secretary Paulson,” he said. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy members scheduled to attend the event include: * John Bryant, Vice Chairman, and Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Operation HOPE, America’s first non-profit social investment banking organization, which has raised $400 million from the private sector to empower the poor.* Ted Beck, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Endowment for Financial Education.* Tahira Hira, Iowa State University, who has taught and conducted research in family financial management, consumer credit, gambling and consumer bankruptcy. She was a presenter and one of four facilitators at the Financial Education and Financial Literacy Research Symposium, sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in October.* Sharon Lechter, Pay Your Family First, who is the founder of YOUTHpreneur and co-author of the best-selling book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and the Rich Dad series of books. She is one of the founders of the Rich Dad companies, and co-inventor of the “CASHFLOW for Kids” board game.* Janet Parker, Chairman, Society of Human Resource Management and Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Regions Financial Corp. in Birmingham, Ala., one of the top 10 banks in the nation with nearly $140 billion in assets. Bryant and Carrie Schwab Pomerantz — the daughter of Charles Schwab, chair of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy — will be the event’s keynote speakers. Pomerantz is Chief Strategist, Consumer Education, at Charles Schwab & Co. Inc., and President of the Charles Schwab Foundation. She also will also participate in the media briefing. Financial literacy advocates participating in the listening session include Shazia Manus, President/CEO, Greater Iowa Credit Union; Cara Heiden, Co-President, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in West Des Moines; and Kevin Shields, FDIC Community Affairs Specialist. Financial literacy leaders from such organizations as the Iowa Credit Union League, Jump Start, the Iowa Department of Human Services and the Society of Human Resource Management will also participate. The listening session will feature five-minute constituent testimonials followed by 15-minute discussions with Advisory Council members. Invited leaders from Des Moines’ financial industry will also meet with Advisory Council members during a private breakfast meeting at the hotel prior to the media briefing. To view stories from this excellent day, please visit the following links. Des Moines Register: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20081114/BUSINESS/811140385 Credit Union National Association: http://www.cuna.org/newsnow/08/system111308-2.html?ref=hed The Ames Tribune: http://www.midiowanews.com/site/tab1.cfm?newsid=20195747&BRD=2700&PAG=461&dept_id=554432&rfi=6 KCCI 8: http://www.kcci.com/money/17956013/detail.html Radio Iowa: http://www.radioiowa.com/gestalt/go.cfm?objectid=8C85D884-5056-B82A-379B8ABA276E700E