Just back from exhibiting at the third annual Jump$tart National Educator Conference in Washington, DC. The event was attended by a few hundred teachers from all but six of the United States (Alaska and Hawaii one can understand, but Georgia didn’t make it?). It was sponsored by Experian and Wells Fargo Foundation and offered in partnership with the National Education Association.
A very good group of people who are, by and large, out in the trenches of (public and private) middle and high schools (some younger grades too, K-12, plus some community educators working with older audiences), teaching personal finance and economics, as well as business, entrepreneurship and the like in classrooms.
At the event, Cassandra McConnell, Deputy Assistant Director, Office of Financial Education at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, spoke about the CFPB and its mission and structure in hopes of creating a fair and competitive marketplace. The Consumer Education and Engagement office is broken down into braches for: Financial Education, Consumer Engagement, Older Americans, Servicemembers, Students, and Financial Empowerment (focusing on low-income).
Perhaps as a harbinger of what the agency will be, its current web site is clean and simple. McConnell noted the “Tell Your Story” section where consumers can relate something good or bad about how they’ve interacted with financial products and services. Those stories will, according to McConnell, helpt he agency spot trends in terms of what it will focus on.
One interesting point of McConnell’s speech was her discussion of “just in time” financial education. In short, the idea is that people are more open to financial education – which we know is often not something that people look forward to or want to engage in – when it’s coupled with a financial choice, decision or purchase they are involved with. This may be, for example, getting a first paycheck, buying a car, buying a house, etc.