Financial literacy is a skill all consumers should possess was the conversation focus when WBA and Green Bay area bankers met with the editorial board of the Green Bay Press Gazette. The group met in Green Bay to ask the newspaper to support SB 212/AB 280 which directs each school board to adopt academic standards for financial literacy and incorporate instruction into the curriculum in grades kindergarten to 12.

WBA also asked the newspaper to recognize the banking industry’s efforts in supporting financial literacy throughout the state. And, the last request by the group was to ask the editors to visit the Wisconsin Banker Foundation’s MyMazuma.com site. The web platform connects financial education providers with consumers who are searching for financial answers.

Thanks go out to the bankers who attended this meeting: Dan Peterson, The Stephenson National Bank & Trust, Marinette; Teresa Schoffelman, Associated Bank, Green Bay; and Tim Treml, Bank of Luxemburg. WBA’s Mike Semmann and Eric Skrum represented the association.

UPDATE: The Green Bay Press Gazette did write an editorial on this topic as a result of the visit. It can be found here.

The information used to prepare the bankers for their visit is available below:

BACKGROUND

Financial literacy is a fundamental skill. WBA is launching several new initiatives to address consumers’ financial capability in Wisconsin. WBA will be asking editorial boards to support the following efforts:

Financial Literacy Legislation

Financial literacy is a fundamental skill that all consumers should possess. WBA endorses and will be promoting SB 212/AB 280 which directs each school board to adopt academic standards for financial literacy and incorporate instruction into the curriculum in grades kindergarten to 12.

MyMazuma.com Launch

This web platform connects financial education providers with consumers who are searching for answers. The website is the Yelp© of financial education, giving consumers a one-stop-shop to find resources ranging from YouTube videos to classroom instruction and services like free tax preparation. The platform officially launches at the end of April at www.MyMazuma.com.

Teach Children to Save Day

April 28 was Teach Children to Save Day. This event was originally established to spotlight the importance of teaching our youth about saving money. It occurs every April when bankers make presentations to students in grades K-12 about budgeting, saving, recognizing needs and wants and how interest makes money grow. Last year, bankers made 523 presentations and reached 13,129 students. This past April was comparable in terms of number of presentations and students reached.

April was Community Banking Month as well as Financial Literacy Month which means this is perfect timing for the newspaper to write something in favor of the banking industry.

THE ASK

WBA is asking the newspaper to:

  • Write an editorial in support of SB 212/AB280 which directs each school board to adopt academic standards for financial literacy and incorporate instruction into the curriculum in grades kindergarten to 12.
  • Support an increased focus on financial literacy in Wisconsin while acknowledging the current efforts taking place.
  • Review and potentially write about MyMazuma.com.

EXAMPLES/STATISTICS ON FINANCIAL LITERACY

57% of high school seniors in Wisconsin attend school districts that do not require personal financial literacy courses.

2013 Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Survey (in conjunction with the St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute) had a 97% response rate with 424 Wisconsin school districts responding. The highlights were:

  • 74% included Personal Financial Literacy (PFL) content integrated within courses other than a discrete PFL course.
  • 60% offer PFL content at grade levels other than high school.
  • 44% of Wisconsin school districts already require a course in PFL in order to graduate.

According to the most recent Consumer Financial Literacy Survey:

  • In 2015, two in five U.S. adults (40%) say they have a budget and keep close track of their spending.
  • When it comes to retirement savings, nearly three in ten U.S. adults (29%) still do not save any portion of their household’s annual income for retirement.
  • In fact, when asked what areas of personal finance are most worrisome, the top responses were: retiring without having enough money set aside (15%), and
  • Three in four adults (75%) agree – and nearly one in four (23%) strongly agree they could benefit from advice and answers to everyday financial questions.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperative and Development:

  • Only 18% of students can explain the difference between needs and wants and recognize the purpose of financial documents.
  • Only 10% of US students have a strong grasp on the outcomes of financial decisions and can recognize less evident aspects of finance such as transaction costs.

National Student Debt Trends (data from the New York Fed and Cleveland Fed)

  • $1.26 trillion in total U.S. student loan debt
  • 44.2 million Americans with student loan debt
  • Student loan delinquency rate of 11.1%
  • Average monthly student loan payment (for borrower aged 20 to 30 years): $351
  • Median monthly student loan payment (for borrower aged 20 to 30 years): $203

Student Debt in Wisconsin according to lookforwardwi.gov (DFI website):

  • Wisconsin grads had the lowest average student debt ($29,460) of all neighboring states as of 2015.
  • Bachelor degree holders earn 84% more than those with only a high school diploma over a lifetime. On average, that’s $964,000!
  • Over a lifetime, individuals with a high school diploma or GED make 33% more income than those without on average. Those that obtain an Associate’s Degree earn over $420,000 more than those with only a high school diploma.