that "there's a Lot to Learn about Money," the Federal
Reserve System has launched an initiative to promote financial education.
The aim is to connect consumers with the knowledge and resources
they need to make informed financial decisions.
Federal Reserve Governor Edward Gramlich announced the initiative
during a press conference on May 19. In his remarks, Gov. Gramlich
noted that changes in technology and credit availability have expanded
the number of financial products and services available to consumers.
"With such changes come new opportunities, but also risks,
including the potential for fraud and abuse," said the governor.
To make wise decisions, "everyone can, and should, become familiar
with basic financial concepts and products."
According to Gov. Gramlich, educated consumers know how to save,
use credit wisely and plan for financially secure retirements. "The
benefits to consumers would be reason enough to encourage financial
education," he said, "but the Federal Reserve has a broader
interest. Educated consumers are one key to keeping our economy
Gov. Gramlich added, "We believe that the widespread availability
of high-quality curricula, programs and training opportunities for
consumers of all ages and backgrounds makes this a particularly
good time to promote financial education. Our hope is to encourage
consumers to take advantage of the programs available in their communities,
schools and on the Web."
The Fed is spreading the word in a number of ways. The most visible
communication piece is a public service announcement starring Federal
Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, which began airing on television
and radio stations across the country on May 19. In the announcement,
Chairman Greenspan stresses the importance of making informed financial
decisions. He encourages consumers to call (800) 411-5435 or visit
a Federal Reserve Web site at www.federalreserveeducation.org
to learn more.
The Web site is a source of comprehensive information on banking,
credit, mortgages and other aspects of personal finance. A companion
brochure titled "There's a Lot to Learn About Money: You Can
Take Charge of Your Financial Future" features tips on saving,
budgeting and managing credit. The public service announcement,
brochure, and portions of the Web site are available in Spanish.
(For free copies of the brochure, call the number listed above.)
In addition, each Reserve Bank offers a list of organizations in
its area that provide financial education and counseling. The Minneapolis
Fed's list, at www.minneapolisfed.org/community/financial-learning-for-the-public/,
includes resources for each of the six states in the Ninth District.