Financial Advice on the Way for Floridians

Florida’s chief financial officer who is unveiling a new effort to help people better manage their money says it can be as simple as saving a few dollars a week.

Christina Nelson keeps a careful eye on her finances, and it paid off a few months ago when her car broke down. She was able to cover the repair bill with her rainy day fund instead of maxing out a credit card.

“Basically whatever was left from my paycheck after I paid my bills was getting set aside, and so that was my rainy day, and it poured,” explains Nelson.

But many of us aren’t saving any money, or aren’t saving enough. A new survey shows one out of four Floridians doesn’t put anything aside for retirement each month.

Less than half of parents are saving money for their children’s college, and one out of five people earning less than $25,000 a year has filed for bankruptcy.

The state is kicking off a financial education campaign to try to improve the numbers.

The effort includes a website with tips on how to get out of credit card debt, buy a home, and save for old age, even if you don’t make much money.

“A few thousand dollars invested when one is very young followed by very minimal investments over the following years can quickly add up to a million dollars or more by retirement,” says Ryan Priest of Allstate Foundation.

You might wonder why the state would care whether you’re managing your money well.
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer says people whose finances fall apart often end up costing all of us down the road.

Tom Gallagher says people who don’t plan for their futures can get caught short.

“They’ll end up in emergency rooms for health care, they’ll end up without jobs, they’ll end up in situations that if they knew better financially they wouldn’t end up in. So it becomes a taxpayer burden when in fact they could have taken care of themselves,” says Florida CFO Tom Gallagher.

And with one in four of us carrying more debt than savings, the reasons to get a handle on your finances can quickly add up.

The “Your Money, Your Life” campaign will also include public service announcements and a half-hour TV show later this year.