In remarks given earlier this week at the Investing in Our Future Conference in Washington, D.C., Director Cordray spoke about the need to make financial education a part of the school curriculum for the nation’s children and unveiled a white paper titled “Transforming the Financial Lives of a Generation of Young Americans” setting forth the CFPB’s policy recommendations for advancing financial education and capability. 

Mr. Cordray stated that his views on the critical need for personal financial education were formed by his personal experiences collecting delinquent real estate taxes when he served as the Franklin County Treasurer in Columbus, Ohio.  He observed that the most of the people he encountered who owed taxes lacked sufficient understanding of major decisions that confronted them in the consumer financial marketplace. He expressed his belief that many of the struggles people face could be mitigated by financial education starting at a young age that teaches them about managing household budgets, saving for the future and using credit. 

The CFPB’s recommendations in the white paper include (1) teaching financial education starting in kindergarten and continuing through the end of high school, (2) integrating financial education concepts into standardized tests, (3) providing experiential learning opportunities such as programs that allow students to interact with financial products and services, (4) creating opportunities and incentives for teacher financial education training, and (5) encouraging parents to discuss money management topics at home. 

We fully agree with Director Cordray’s observations on the need for young Americans to receive effective financial education and expect that the financial services industry will be supportive of the CFPB’s very worthwhile efforts.