November 27, 2009
Financial Education Resources in my Inbox
By Cindy Ivanac-Lillig
The Fed is getting ready to run an ad in movie theaters across the country this holiday season. The ad will be directed at credit card usage. It will basically interrupt your buttery popcorn crunch to remind you to pay your bills on time, stay below the limit and watch for changes in terms. Although it is probably helpful to remind folks about the basics of credit -- I think for those of you that work in education, this type of "education" intervention is akin to getting a flyer tucked under your windshield wiper. For some, it may be a good reminder, but for most, it will do nothing.
However, immediately below this non-educator worthy story today in my inbox was a resource that could do a lot of good for many -- especially many parents of school-aged children. It is a website put out by Charles Schwab called Schwab Money Wise. Many private companies have put forth various Money - Smart - Wise – Savvy websites and I have by no means visited them all to compare, but this site is well done and includes activities for parents of all age/grade levels. There are some simple saving and budgeting exercises that are well done (and downloadable) as well as a few ideas on investing activities a parent can do with a child. In addition, the site has resources specifically designed for the classroom under, "Teachers & Volunteers," although I think some of parent activities can work in a classroom as well!
At any rate, thought I would share this resource, because it incorporates some news, some basic tools for financial planning, some good data, and probably most interestingly -- some good ways for parents/teachers to motivate children to engage in this life skill.
Let me know what you think. Anything interesting in your inbox?
November 12, 2009
A new tool to help us learn about the financial services industry...
By Cindy Ivanac-Lillig
I have been subscribing to a website for the last few months called, FinReg21. It is billed as a non-partisan, on-line media tool for those interested in financial services regulatory reform. The editor is David Evans, and the site offers a mixture of original stories and a compilation of on-line blogs and speeches, as well as a webcast portal called Channel 21 that carries interviews with industry leaders. For those of you involved in banking and/or teaching an advanced banking and finance class, this is a great resource, as it gives some fresh perspectives on the "industry" -- encompassing everything from broker-dealers to national banks to insurance companies. The interconnectedness of the industry comes through as you listen to the respective experts discuss not only what is being batted around legislatively but also what the last decade looked like in their respective sectors.
This morning I watched most of a webcast-interview with Leigh Ann Pusey, CEO of the American Insurance Association (interviewer: David Evans). She did a good job of explaining the state versus federal structure of insurance regulation and how that differs from other financial sectors. I also read an interesting article that criticized a recent speech by Comptroller Dugan. I thought it provided a unique look at regulators' incentives.
At any rate, I hope you find the site useful. Over the past few weeks, there have been contributions by Dan Kaufman of the Brookings Institution and Stanford University's John Taylor.
Let me know what you think and if you have found any new resources you would like to share....
November 6, 2009
A powerful public good....
By Cindy Ivanac-Lillig
I read an interesting article today from Andrew Reamer of the Brookings Institution about the value of economic statistics. They are something that you become so accustomed to working with when you are either a teacher or student of economics. For example, there are dozens of ways to look at GDP, Unemployment, CPI, etc. As an instructor, I have given assignments such as -- go and look up the "jobs report" and figure out who publishes the data, how is it compiled, and what are its shortcomings.
However, I have never really thought of the statistics themselves as public goods. To some extent, these data sets make the analytical world go round and yet we rely on tax-payer monies to compile them. The article does an interesting job of providing examples of projects that were cut when the budgets were cut and how our statistics have suffered. (Who has ever thought of what the return on investment is for these statistical organizations?)
At any rate, I thought the article was both food for thought for those that regularly use these statistics and an interesting example of a public good.
The article also forced me to ask whether or not enough economic data is in the public domain; what do you think?