New Government Web Site Focuses on Financial Literacy

The free online resource covers soup to nuts and all walks of life.

The Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) has launched its enhanced financial literacy education Web site, www.MyMoney.gov. The redesigned site, which was announced on April 27, is intended to expand financial education and serve as a resource for Americans seeking information to inform their personal financial decisions, according to an announcement.

President Obama has proclaimed April National Financial Literacy Month, and this online offering is one of the administration's initiatives.

Financial information provided by FLEC member agencies is free, and is organized to help viewers plan for life events (births, buying a home, losing a job, retirement) that have financial implications. Viewers can find information focused on their profession (teacher, for instance) or personal status (student, parent). The site also provides money management tools, such as worksheets for setting up a household budget and a financial savings calculator. It also highlights current issues, such as what consumers need to know about new credit card rules.

The improved site is available in English and Spanish, and FLEC promises further enhancements, though whether these will include additional languages was unclear in the announcement.

As it becomes more widely known, the enhanced www.MyMoney.gov will undoubtedly help many viewers get a better grasp on their financial lives. For wealth managers, the Web site could serve as one element in what many attest is their ongoing effort to educate even their more sophisticated clientele about financial matters. Perhaps more important, it provides a resource for educating the children of their affluent clients. The site has an excellent section focused on "Youth"--a kind of Finance 101 for the 12-to-20 age group approaching the time when they will take responsibility for their financial lives.

FLEC, which was established under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, was mandated to develop a national financial education Web site as well as a hotline (1-888-My Money) and a national strategy on financial education. The Secretary of the Treasury chairs the commission. FLEC comprises 20 other federal agencies: the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; the Office of Thrift Supervision; the Federal Reserve; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; the National Credit Union Administration; the Securities and Exchange Commission; the Departments of Education, Agriculture, Defense, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and Veterans Affairs; the Federal Trade Commission; the General Services Administration; the Small Business Administration; the Social Security Administration; the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; the Office of Personnel Management and its newest member, the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Michael S. Fischer (msf7@columbia.edu) is a New York-based financial writer and editor and a frequent contributor to Wealth Manager.

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