March 7_ 2008 Honorable Andrew Romanoff Speaker of the House

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March 7_ 2008 Honorable Andrew Romanoff Speaker of the House Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                                        Suite 201
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                                                                                          E-mail: fpa@fpanet.org
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March 7, 2008




Honorable Andrew Romanoff
Speaker of the House
Colorado State Capitol
200 East Colfax, Room 271
Denver, Colorado 80203

Re: Support for House Bill 08-1168, Concerning Financial Literacy

Dear Speaker Romanoff:

       The Financial Planning Association1 ("FPA") is pleased to join the FPA of Colorado in
support of House Bill 08-1168, a proposal to add financial literacy standards to mathematics
courses for public school students in Colorado.

         Financial illiteracy is one of the most critical problems facing our generation, not only for
school-age students, but for the vast majority of adults. A host of studies confirm this problem, but
to see the real effects on society, one only has to look at the spiraling credit card debt of college
students and subprime lending practices that have led to widespread foreclosures around the
country. Although the federal and state governments are looking at short-term assistance for
distressed homeowners, the seeds of a long-term solution are truly contained in House Bill 1168.
This legislation would apply basic math concepts to personal finance by addressing, among other
things, the practical problems associated with household budgeting and cash flow. Working
knowledge in these two areas alone would have avoided many of the problems now generating
headlines today.

        By taking positive action on HB 1168, the Colorado General Assembly would join a number
of other states that have recently passed financial literacy requirements. Its neighbors to the
immediate west and east recently adopted financial literacy standards through somewhat different
approaches. Utah, for example, is requiring high school students to take a stand-alone semester

 1
    The Financial Planning Association is the largest organization in the United States representing
financial planners and affiliated firms. Most of FPA's 28,000 members are affiliated with investment
adviser firms registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, state securities administrators, or
both. FPA is incorporated in Washington, D.C. where it maintains an advocacy office, with headquarters
in Denver, Colorado.
Honorable Andrew Romanoff
March 7, 2008
Page 2

course on personal finance in order to graduate, beginning with the 2009-2010 senior class.
Kansas, along with 13 other states, requires personal finance incorporated into other course topics,
typically math or economics, and similar to the approach taken by this legislation.2 FPA prefers the
more comprehensive, stand-alone course requirement, which allows schools to cover more of the
critical topics that will face students in the real world. However, we believe that HB 1168 is an
important first-step.

        Financial literacy requirements would help more than just students. Financial planners,
while acting as advisors to individuals and family households, by necessity serve as educators in
helping guide their clients through the increasingly complex labyrinth of money issues. Solid
financial advice serves no useful purpose unless the client understands and is motivated to act on
the recommendations. Clients who thereby appreciate the wise use and long-term management of
financial resources make it much easier for financial planners to help them attain life goals.

        From a public policy perspective, legislation such as HB 1168 also is important for those
who prefer to do it on their own or cannot afford professional assistance. In particular, strong
financial literacy standards over time will strengthen the fabric of society by helping the underserved
cope successfully with financial challenges and reduce the strain on government and charity safety
nets.

        For all of these reasons, FPA wishes to reiterate its strong support for this important step in
creating a financial literacy standard in Colorado. We would be happy to discuss these issues with
you in further detail if you have any questions or comments. I can be reached at 202-449-6341 or
duane.thompson@fpanet.org.

Very truly yours,




Duane Thompson
Managing Director, Washington Office




2
 See Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy Standards, “State Financial Education Requirements,” at
http://www.jumpstart.org/state_legislation/index.cfm.

				
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