Note from Nan – a few minutes on money

As the head of an organization that teaches about personal finance, I thought I would take this opportunity to share some thoughts about managing your personal finances at this time. Big thanks to Herb – my dad – who taught me a lot about managing my finances and had good advice for many. 

1. Rethink your budget. Especially important if your income may diminish for a while. And, depending on your work circumstances, you may have a bit of time.  To consider: 

  •  a. Most of us still need to pay the basics – rent, food, various loans – but many of the nicer to-haves are not available right now (going out, going on vacation).  Will savings from these activities cover your needs? Do they present an opportunity to save?
  • b. Take the opportunity to look at your recurring monthly fees – e.g. streaming and subscription services. Do you need all of these? Can you modify them? Can you reallocate some funds to others that are more essential?
  • c. Think about what you are spending on: Many organizations are offering entertainment for free – Why pay for a movie when you can stream, take a yoga class, or virtually visit a museum at no charge? Many companies, especially local ones, are offering pickup service and discounts – support your community and save at the same time, always taking care regarding unnecessary discretionary spending. 

 2. Identify helpful State Programs/Resources: If your income is reduced by a furlough, a layoff, or reduced revenues as a small business owner, check out resources that your state might have available to help you – new services and flexibility seem to be the order of the day.

3. Have the money talk: This is an opportunity to discuss money as a family. If you were wondering about finding the right time – this is a good one. 

4. Do your taxes. File them if you are in for a refund, hold if you owe and might need that cash. Note: The IRS has extended the filing deadline and federal tax payments regardless of amount until July 15, but check your state for local tax changes and dates. Filing is particularly important if you are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).  

5. Invest

  • a. The experts will tell you not to panic and sell out of fear. The market was just over 6,600 in March of 2009 at the bottom of the financial crisis. It is over 18,000 as I write after some of the worst daily drops ever. 
  • b. If your employer is still making a match to your 401K plan, try to keep investing enough to earn the match. E.g. if you are saving 6%, and the company is matching up to 4%, try to save at least at 4%. Why – first, that money is free. In addition, dollar cost averaging is now working in your favor (you can look this up for more details, but basically, equal amounts invested over time will, on average, lower your average share purchase cost).
  • c. For the same reason, if you have an income and are spending less on other things, continue to invest a bit in your SEP, IRA, or 529 plans each month. 

6. Look for alternative work: It might not be your dream job, but there are quite a number of local delivery jobs open right now. Help with outdoor yard and gardening chores. If you have expertise in a subject, you might be able to tutor students now taking classes at home. 

7. Beware of new debt: It might be tempting to carry a balance on your credit card, borrow from your 401K or take advantage of low or no-cost financing for a while. Refer to my first point – if your budget says you cannot afford it, financing is probably going to make it more expensive. That said, for those of you fortunate enough to own a home, given low interest rates, refinancing or a home equity loan may be worth evaluating. 

8. Volunteer: If you are lucky enough to have time and savings, you can help others to maintain financial stability. Deliver groceries to an at-risk person and don’t ask to be paid back; tutor for free; help prepare free meals. And the money you save by not going out or on vacation could go a long way towards meeting others’ basic human needs right now. 

POSTED: March 24, 2020 | BY: admin

Watch CEE’s President and CEO discuss the 2020 Survey of the States on CNBC

The Council for Economic Education (CEE) has released the 2020 Survey of the States, available for download here. The Survey is CEE’s biennial look into the state of K-12 economic and financial education in the United States; it serves as an important benchmark for our progress, revealing both how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.

This morning, CEE’s President and CEO, Nan J. Morrison, discussed the Survey, including positive national gains in personal finance and economic education, in an interview with anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin on CNBC’s Squawk Box.

CNBC.com also covered the Survey’s release.

According to the Survey, twenty-one states now require high school students to take a course in personal finance, four more than reported in 2018’s report. Twenty-five states now require an economics course, an increase of three states since 2018. The report also discusses data on the positive outcomes of personal finance and economic education as well as the need to improve access to this important subject matter.

POSTED: February 5, 2020 | BY: admin

Florida’s partial victory

Since 2011, the Florida Council on Economic Education (FCEE) has pursued a legislative requirement for a standalone course in personal finance. Finally, in 2019, after years of negotiating and advocating, the legislature passed a requirement for that course. While the bill’s passing is a victory for Florida students, it is only a partial one—legislators require only that the course be offered, not that it be taken for graduation.

The Dorothy Hukill Financial Literacy Act provides students with the opportunity to take a full-semester course in personal finance. The course must be offered in addition to and separate from the required economics course where personal finance content was previously taught, providing students access to a more thorough personal finance class while still giving economics the full attention it deserves. The new elective is based on the Council for Economic Education’s National Standards for Financial Literacy and is offered at both the honors and regular course levels.

State Senator Travis Hutson said of the legislation, “It has been an amazing year carrying such an important piece of legislation for my dear friend Senator Hukill. I look forward to seeing more and more students avail themselves of this opportunity.”

Much work remains to be done. Unfortunately, the Florida legislature did not appropriate any funding toward the implementation and creation of the course. Additionally, the FCEE and its partners around the state plan to pursue a mandate for this important course and are working with representatives from both the public and private sectors to make this a reality. In the meantime, FCEE continues to provide assistance, training and resources to teachers around the state as they take on this exciting new course.

POSTED: February 5, 2020 | BY: admin

Requirements matter. So does access.

Requirements matter

Carly Urban
Christiana Stoddard
Montana State University

With the rise of student loan debt, there is concern that student borrowers are not fully informed when making decisions about how much to borrow and from where. Can state-required financial education in high school provide the necessary tools to make a more informed decision? Yes— results show that when students receive financial education, they borrow more sensibly, shifting from high-cost to low-cost financing. Financial education graduation requirements* increase applications for aid, the likelihood of receiving a grant, and acceptance of federal loans, which are all low-interest means of borrowing. At the same time, financial education decreases the likelihood of holding credit card balances, and the education reduces higher-cost private loan amounts for borrowers. For students from lower income families, financial education reduces their need to work while enrolled, which likely increases their probability of graduation. While the graduation requirements positively affect borrowing behavior, they do not change where or whether students choose to go to school.

*A state is classified as having a graduation requirement if the state either (1) requires a standalone class, (2) requires personal finance material to be integrated into another class, or (3) requires standards in personal finance be taught within a curriculum.

Christiana Stoddard and Carly Urban. “The Effects of Financial Education Graduation Requirements on Postsecondary Financing Decisions” Forthcoming: Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking.
2019 National Endowment of Financial Education Executive Summary. “Better Borrowing: How State-Mandated Financial Education Drives College Financing Behavior,” 2018. Access here: https://www.nefe.org/_images/ research/Effects-of-K-12-Financial-EducationMandates/Better-Borrowing-Report-MSUExecutive-Summary.pdf

So does access

According to Next Gen Personal Finance, in the graduating class of 2019:

Most high schoolers had at least some access to personal finance, with almost 70% provided the option to take at least a one-semester elective

However, less than 17% of high schoolers were required to take at least one semester of personal finance

In states where there is no required one-semester personal finance course, there are large gaps between schools educating higher and lower income students:

  • • In schools in which at least 75% of students were eligible for free and reduced lunch (FRL)*, only 3.9% of students were required to take a one-semester personal finance course, and an additional 52.4% were provided at least an option
  • • In schools in which less than 25% of students were FRL eligible, students were nearly three times as likely to be required to take a one-semester personal finance course (10.5%), and an additional 61.6% were provided at least an option

*FRL is a common proxy for low income

SOURCE: “Who Has Access to Financial Education in America Today?” Next Gen Personal Finance, 2019, https://www.ngpf.org/advocacy-report/.

POSTED: February 5, 2020 | BY: admin

North Carolina expands and strengthens instruction in economics and personal finance

Recognizing that financial literacy skills are critical for success in career and life, North Carolina business leaders and policymakers recently championed a bipartisan effort to increase the emphasis on instruction in economics and personal finance for high school students. During the 2019 legislative session, North Carolina established a required, full-year course in economics and personal finance for high school graduates. This new course will be developed by the State Board of Education and North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and will ensure all students have access to high-quality instruction on the true cost of credit, borrowing, credit scores and reports, and planning and paying for post-secondary education. The course will be required for graduation beginning with the class of 2024 and replaces a course that combined content standards in civics, government, and economics. The legislation assures that economics and personal finance content get more time and attention in a standalone course while civics and government content are still covered in the other three required social studies courses.

This successful legislation was the culmination of several years of hard work by a broad coalition of educators, non-profits—including the North Carolina Council on Economic Education—business leaders, and legislators, all of whom recognized the importance of economic and financial education for North Carolina’s young people.

POSTED: February 4, 2020 | BY: admin

Fidelity’s partnership with Invest in Girls is changing lives

Post by Fidelity Investments, a sponsor of our 58th Annual Financial Literacy & Economic Education Conference.

Whether through Invest In Girls (IIG) workshops, which teach financial concepts to 10th, 11th and 12th grade girls, role model exchange which provides mentors from the finance and financial services sectors or industry exposure trips which offer experiential learning for girls, partnering with the Council for Economic Education has allowed Fidelity Investments to positively impact the lives of hundreds girls.

At Fidelity Investments we think differently about community. Our focus of helping people prepare for the lives they want to live goes beyond “one and done” volunteer activities and includes more than our customers. It is core to our commitment to financial literacy. We believe that when people have access to financial knowledge, they are more confident, can make better decisions and achieve better outcomes in their lives and the lives of their families.

We also believe in collaborating with best in class non-profits to make a difference for school-age children in the areas of education and financial literacy. Our relationship with Invest in Girls (IIG) through the Council for Economic Education (CEE), provides an opportunity to impact the future for young women both in careers in financial services and personal finances.

According to the Girl Scouts Research Institute, only 12 percent of girls feel comfortable making financial decisions making IIG’s mission to create the first generation of financially literate women and increase the numbers of women in finance critical.

Invest in Girls students visiting the Fidelity Investments offices on an industry trip.

Fidelity has been a long-time supporter and partner of the efforts to tackle the gender gap in financial literacy and the financial services industry, partnering with IIG in the Boston area since the group’s inception. In 2019 Fidelity joined CEE to introduce IIG to high school girls in Westlake, TX by hosting one day of a week-long summer camp focused on financial literacy and careers in finance.

Girls like Keyona Duncan. “I have never been a big fan of mathematics, but IIG changed that,” said Keyona. “What caught my interest the most, was actually interest. I learned that money could add upon itself—which is a good thing if you hold your money in a savings account long enough.”

Now a student at Quincy College, Keyona credits her participation in IIG with not only influencing her decision to major in accounting, but also impacting her confidence as a leader. “The fact that IIG was just for girls and taught by a woman made it a very comfortable learning environment for me. I don’t feel like I have to hold back as a female, because I’m in control of what I want to happen to me.”

The Invest in Girls program also connects Fidelity employees to meaningful volunteer opportunities in the areas of education and financial literacy.

Madeleine Mitchell volunteers throughout the school year sharing personal finance lessons and career insights, and as a member of Fidelity’s employee resource group, WLG – Women’s Leadership Group – is passionate about empowering women and girls to take control of their personal finances.

“Promoting financial literacy for women and introducing women to careers in financial services are extremely important and personal for me,” said Madeleine, director of fixed income trading and infrastructure products. “Many young women have the skills needed to excel in financial services but are not drawn to the profession because they think they won’t ‘fit in’ – a classic case of the imposter syndrome. I was one of these women in college, and it was only when I was introduced to women in financial services who would come to serve as role models for me that I started to see a path for myself in the industry. I’m passionate about helping other girls to have this same experience.”

Like Madeleine and CEE, Fidelity believes that every girl should feel financially empowered and changing the way girls think about money and careers in financial services is key in creating lasting change for the next generation. That’s why Fidelity is pleased to continue our partnership with CEE to identify additional regions to expand the IIG program.

Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC , 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917 Council for Economic Education is not affiliated with Fidelity Brokerage Services, member NYSE, SIPC or its affiliates.
Invest in Girls is not affiliated with Fidelity Brokerage Services, member NYSE, SIPC or its affiliates.

POSTED: October 28, 2019 | BY: admin

Recap: 2019 Financial Literacy & Economic Education Conference (with photos)

Thanks to everyone who participated in our 58th Annual Financial Literacy & Economic Education Conference in Los Angeles! We had a wonderful time speaking with and learning from all of the educators, affiliates, exhibitors, and volunteers who attended. A special thanks is due to the California Council on Economic Education (CCEE) who hosted the event.

The Conference’s Teacher Days began on October 4 with an Opening Plenary. A keynote speech, delivered via video by US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton, discussed the importance of international cooperation on strengthening trade and combating corruption. It was followed by a Q&A session with Lori Schock, the SEC’s Director of the Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, who discussed a number of the agency’s initiatives including Howeycoin, a phony cryptocurrency designed to promote fraud awareness.

Concurrent sessions and exhibits began after the Opening Plenary – see the full conference schedule here.

Sylvain Leduc, Executive Vice President and Director of Research at the San Francisco Federal Reserve, gave a talk at the Teacher’s Recognition Luncheon on the Fed’s policy strategies in response to the 2008 recession. Later, attendees were treated to a cocktail reception followed by a presentation of The Mysterious Case Files of Silver Cash, Money Detective, a play for fourth-graders by Wells Fargo.

We were pleased to present the John Morton Excellence in the Teaching of Economics Award to these two educators whose innovative teaching concepts improve and stimulate economic understanding in and out of their classrooms:

  • Julie Ingram, Florence Middle School, Mississippi
  • Amanda Stiglbauer, Blythewood High School, South Carolina

We also had the opportunity to honor members of our affiliate network with these accolades:

  • The Albert Beekhius Award, recognizing an affiliate for their outstanding performance in working with teachers and exhibiting excellence in the delivery of high-quality programming:
    The Vigrinia Commonwealth University Center for Economic Education
  • The State Council of the Year Award, recognizing significant accomplishments, best practices, and outstanding services:
    The Nebraska Council on Economic Education

Please enjoy these photos from the event:


Conference exhibitors:

CEE would like to thank the sponsors of the 58th Annual Financial Literacy & Economic Education Confrence:








POSTED: October 28, 2019 | BY: admin

New quiz on CNBC.com: Are you an insurance pro?

Are you financially prepared for a fire, a break-in, or an accident? How much do you REALLY know about insurance? We’re proud to have collaborated with CNBC on this quiz, all about insurance!

This quiz is a part of CNBC and Acorns’ financial literacy initiative Invest In You: Ready. Set. Grow.

Find the Spanish version, courtesy of Telemundo, here.

POSTED: October 1, 2019 | BY: admin

#econready contest results are in!

Our #econready contest has concluded! We asked K-12 teachers to show us how they will be incorporating economics and personal finance into their classrooms this year, and to let us know which EconEdLink resource (lesson plan, video, or activity) complimented their work. We were thoroughly impressed by all the contest entrants!

The winners:





Each of these entrants will be receiving a $200 credit at the CEE store.

Honorable mention:

We’d also like to thank Kevin Morgan, who has been on a roll sharing his economics and personal finance teaching on social media:

Thanks to everyone who participated or spread the word, as well as all the K-12 teachers across the country that are equipping their students with the tools and knowledge of economics and personal finance!

POSTED: October 1, 2019 | BY: admin