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Jump$tarting Financial Literacy
Many of the current consumer credit-related concerns could have been avoided if the public had a better understanding of basic financial principles. Problems ranging from the level of personal debt to houses with mortgages their owners canít afford are often traceable to ill-informed consumer decisions.

While there is a plethora of proposals to protect consumers, no law or regulation can be an effective substitute for informed judgement. Moreover, instead of learning hard lessons as adults, consumers should begin their financial literacy training at the earliest possible opportunity along with other essential life skills. The Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, an alliance "of organizations dedicated to improving the financial literacy of kindergarten through college-age youth by providing advocacy, research, standards and educational resources" is working to make improved financial education a reality.

The latest survey of high school seniors by Jump$tart Coalition found that fewer than half "correctly said that a credit card holder who only pays the minimum amount on monthly card balances will pay more in annual finance charges than a card holder who pays their balance in full." The Coalition, with partners ranging from the Girl Scouts to NYSE Euronext to the FDIC, also found that only 17% of seniors "correctly answered that stocks are likely to yield higher returns than savings bonds, savings accounts and checking accounts over the next 18 years even though there has never been an 18-year period where this wasnít true."

Before regulators take rash actions that could inadvertently undermine the ability of responsible consumers to obtain credit, or encourage continued irresponsible borrowing, it is essential to ensure that all consumers understand basic finance.

See Jump$start Coalition website

See Presidentís Advisory Council on Financial Literacy

 
 
 
 
 
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