Wilmington City Council Joins with the Delaware Financial Literacy Institute to Celebrate National Financial Literacy Month

Posted on  04/15/2013 2:29 pm

Wilmington City Council, through the efforts of 3rd District Council Member Darius Brown, joined forces today with the Delaware Financial Literacy Institute (DFLI) at a news conference in Wilmington to celebrate National Financial Literary Month during April by urging citizens to build their savings and not their debt.

Council President Theo Gregory and Council Member Brown, on behalf of all of Council, were joined by Ronni Cohen, Executive Director of DFLI and Tami Schoenfeld, Director of the DFLI’s Money School, to deliver a sobering message about the importance, especially for teens, of learning more about their finances and focusing on their financial future.

“Today’s teens are likely to be the first generation in history to end up financially worse off than their parents,” said the DFLI’s Ronni Cohen. “Poor savings habits, a reliance on easy credit, and not knowing the basics of budgeting are all factors that contribute to creating a generation of debtors, not savers. The good news is that it’s never too early to learn how to manage money, and the DFLI is here to assist.”

“As I am doing in the 3rd District which I represent, all of us on City Council are looking for ways to improve the lives of people in Wilmington through greater financial security and improved education.” said Council Member Brown. “One of my greatest concerns, that I know is shared by my Council colleagues, is that the citizens in Wilmington who need support for managing their finances may not be aware that there are resources available to help them. That’s why it is important for City Council to join with the DFLI to help spread the message of financial literacy throughout the City and beyond.”

Council President Gregory and Council Member Brown pointed to some statistics that are cause for concern:

  • People in the 18 to 24 age bracket spend nearly 30% of their monthly income just on debt repayment which is double the percentage spent in 1992. It is recommended that only 10% of net income should be used for debt obligations.
  • 65% of Americans consider themselves "very" or "highly" knowledgeable when it comes to personal finance, yet a majority of Americans, 52%, do not regularly review their credit report each year…and 23% of Americans have never reviewed their credit report.
  • Nearly two-thirds or 63% of Americans acknowledge they don’t save enough, and more than one-third say they often or sometimes spend more than they can afford.
  • 36% of Americans say that they have at some point in their lives felt that their financial situation was out of control.
  • Students entering college are offered an average of eight credit cards during their first week of school.
  • More than 40% of American households have less than $1,000 in liquid, non-retirement savings accounts according to Census Bureau data, leaving them incredibly vulnerable financially.

On the good news side, the Council officials pointed to a statistic that explains why financial literacy education is so important:

  • Research has shown that as little as 10 hours of personal financial education helps students improve their spending and savings habits.

DFLI, founded in 1999 by then-State Treasurer Jack Markell, has provided more than 5,000 free classes, events and programs statewide over the last 14 years. DFLI’s mission is to equip individuals — especially those of low-to moderate-income — with the tools to get their financial lives in order so that they can become self-sufficient and enjoy financial well-being over time.

While it is best known for its signature program, The Money School, DFLI offers many other education programs to individuals, students and small businesses, including From Purses to Portfolios; Friends Don’t Let Friends Drown in Debt; Got $avings?; First State Saves; CODE (Coalition of Organizations for Delaware Entrepreneurship); and youth programs including Chasing the Dream, a venture creation camp, and Bank At School.

For more information about DFLI and its programs, please visit www.dfli.org.