U.S. Treasury, CFPB discuss financial education at president’s council

Financial EducationU.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and CFPB Director Richard Cordray discussed the importance of financial education during a Monday meeting of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans.

Lew urged the council to identify and consider opportunities for the nation to improve financial education in the U.S.

“Mastering the basics of financial decision-making at an early age will equip young people for the first major financial decision many Americans are likely to face: whether to pursue post-secondary education and, if so, how to pay for it,” Lew said.

Lew also urged the council to push employers to consider how to help employees become more financially successful.

“Many workers look to their employers as a source of information and even guidance on important money management matters beyond retirement,” Lew said. “Employers also play a critical role in providing workers with information and options to plan and save for retirement.”

Lew’s calls echo similar statements by CFPB head Cordray, who said financial education should begin at a young age and should evolve into adulthood.

“[W]e recommend that as part of youth financial education, students should practice financial management through experiential learning,” Cordray said, adding that youths learn more effectively through interactive experience.

Additionally, Cordray recommended that financial education concepts be integrated into existing standardized testing as part of an effort to increase incentives for educators to teach financial concepts and to track student performance.

“[T]hough providing financial education in schools is critical, there are also enormous benefits when that education is present in the home,” Cordray said. “We need parents to be as involved as their children are in learning to master the concepts of personal financial management… Affecting how families approach financial education will not be easy, but the presentation of financial education in the schools will be a further stimulus to parents.”

The council was established by executive order last June and seeks to advise the president and Treasury on how to promote financial literacy among American youths.

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