Educating and Empowering American Consumers

Today, the White House hosted a Summit on Financial Capability and Empowerment, aimed at empowering Americans to make informed financial decisions. At the Summit, the Administration announced new private and public sector commitments to promote financial empowerment,as well as a new resource guide for schools, colleges and universities, employers, and communities to help leaders begin their own financial capability initiatives. Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray gave opening remarks highlighting the work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  In the below blog post, Gail Hillebrand, Associate Director of Consumer Education and Engagement for CFPB, highlights some of the Bureau’s important work related to financial literacy.  

There are certain occasions in everyone’s life when one decision can have long-lasting effects. How will you pay for college? Which mortgage should you choose? Where will you turn when you need credit? When will you start saving for retirement? How you answer these questions and others like them can profoundly impact your financial future.

Unfortunately, too many graduates are entering the workforce saddled with student loan debt, limited employment opportunities, and important financial decisions for which they are often unprepared. There is simply too wide a gap between complex financial products and the level of education that many consumers have about them.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is dedicated to closing that gap by making financial products more transparent and helping to educate consumers so they can make better-informed choices when pursuing their own financial goals.

Today, Director Cordray outlined this vision during the White House Financial Capability and Empowerment Summit. The national gathering of more than 100 community leaders focused attention on improving the financial capability of all Americans. The summit also highlighted the work of several organizations making a difference for workers, youth, and families.

At the CFPB, the Office of Consumer Engagement and the Office of Financial Education are the twin engines that develop and implement initiatives to educate and empower consumers. Our job is to help you access and understand the information, tools, and rules that will help you make the best financial choices.

Through our Consumer Engagement work, we recently launched Ask CFPB, a tool to help you get answers to your basic financial questions. Ask CFPB features hundreds of answers to questions about credit cards, mortgages, and other financial products and services.

We’ve also been working to help you navigate the financial landscape as you navigate the student loan market. We launched the Student Debt Repayment Assistant and began testing a new tool to help students understand how much they’ll owe after graduation. We hope all of these efforts will help students and parents make smarter financial decisions.

Meanwhile, the Office of Financial Education is learning from – and strengthening – the work of financial education practitioners. We are building a comprehensive approach to financial education, a goal that includes developing a knowledge base and measuring the effectiveness of financial education programs. Going forward, we plan to:

  • Share effective strategies
  • Increase federal coordination
  • Promote innovation, and
  • Test new ideas in the area of financial education

We look forward to engaging with you as we work together to help consumers live better financial lives.

For more information about these and other CFPB programs, I encourage you to take a look at our website, www.ConsumerFinance.gov. And if any members of the financial education community would like to contact us, please e-mail financialeducation@cfpb.gov.

Gail Hillebrand is the Associate Director of Consumer Education and Engagement for the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau
Related Topics: Education
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