Today I had the pleasure of representing the White House and the President at the meeting of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability (PACFC). On January 29, 2010, President Obama signed Executive Order 13530, creating PACFC to assist the American people with understanding financial matters and making informed financial decisions, and thereby positively contributing to our country’s financial stability. At today’s meeting, the Department of Treasury’s Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) unveiled their National Strategy for Financial Literacy 2011.
The President is committed to the goals of ensuring that all Americans have the financial skills they need to make wise financial choices in an effort to help strengthen the financial stability of average families. As part of this commitment, last month, President Obama appointed a highly qualified group of men and women to PACFC. The Council’s work will complement the Administration’s broader efforts to protect consumers and promote financial capability. I believe the Council will play an important role in helping us reach that goal!
During the PACFC meeting, specialists in an array of fields including consumer support, community development, financial planning, and education discussed how the government and those in the private sector can work together to bring about solutions to the challenges of obtaining true financial capability. Among its other tasks, this Council will help build a culture of financial capability by promoting messages and lessons about sound financial practices as broadly as possible. This way, financial knowledge and skills, and positive, wealth-building financial opportunities will be within reach for all Americans, wherever they may live, and wherever they are in life. President Obama looks to this group to provide The Administration with recommendations about how to reach young people in schools, working adults in the workplace, and folks in their communities.
There are many opportunities for each of us to make a difference. We can support financial education in school classrooms, or fund research to identify effective practices. We can volunteer to prepare income tax returns, or teach youth in after school programs. We can teach managing money well, and making it last. Finally, we can have honest conversations about effective ways to save and manage funds with our children, parents, neighbors, and friends.
I would like to congratulate the Financial Literacy and Education Commission for launching its National Strategy for Financial Literacy today. I believe this is a fantastic opportunity for the private and public sector to work together to advance the financial capability of all Americans. I look forward to continuing this national conversation on financial stability and to closely following the work of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability in the months ahead.
Valerie Jarrett is Senior Advisor and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls