10 posts categorized "Melora Heavey" Feed

Being THAT Guy

“When she said ‘I just paid off my student loans,’ I thought, WOW how did she do that. It makes you think what’s important and what’s not.”

“I like the positive role model thing.  I want to be this guy.”

These quotes are just a small sampling of feedback from the Feed the Pig’s target audience (25-34 year olds) after viewing the campaign’s newest PSAs during focus groups held earlier this year. Each TV spot highlights both the positive financial behavior—buying a home, saving in a 401(k) and paying off student loans—of one young adult or couple paralleled with the spending habits of their peers, who simply cannot believe there’s any money left over at the end of the month to save. (View all the new PSAs on the new Feed the Pig website.)

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Spreading Financial Well-Being

Financial-well-beingIn my professional travels I meet individuals from all over who know about the AICPA’s financial literacy programs and use our resources in many creative ways.  While some are CPAs, the majority is not, and yet each is equally committed to improving the financial well-being of their loved ones, friends and communities.  If I had a dollar for every time someone sang “Feeeeed the PIG!” to me after seeing our campaign promotional items on a conference display table, I just might have enough money to pay off my student loans.  (I never get tired of this serenade!)

Here are some of the many ways these free resources are being used:

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Financial Education for All

Financial educationA common mantra when discussing programs and services to improve an individual’s financial understanding is “One size does not fit all.” In addition, there’s no one age where financial education should begin and end.  This was abundantly clear during the Improving Financial Literacy and Capability: What Works? conference organized held earlier this summer.  This day-long program presented the innovative ideas and work of the Financial Literacy Center, a joint effort of the RAND Corporation, Dartmouth College and the Wharton School.  Each presentation provided insights in to various approaches to and workable solutions to improving financial literacy for consumers of all ages. 

The day’s panels highlighted a variety of research, programs and technologies, and all presentations can be found on this website for the conference.  I want to share with you highlights from the presentations which made up the panel I moderated: Financial Literacy Among Young People.  The AICPA outreach efforts in this area include 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy and Feed the Pig, which encourages 25-34 year olds to improve saving habits for long-term financial health.  However, as we know, waiting until your mid-twenties to begin thinking about money and learning about good financial habits puts you at a serious disadvantage for financial security as an adult.

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Friends, Family and Finances

Feed the pig loveRelationships and finances can be very tricky; whether between parents and children, roommates or spouses. In fact, financial matters are the most common source of discord among American couples, prompting an average of three arguments per month, according to a survey conducted for the AICPA by Harris Interactive.

More than half of adults, 55 percent, who are married or living with a partner said they do not set aside time on a regular basis to talk about financial issues. This leaves them at a huge disadvantage. It’s important for all parties involved to be aware and understand where their money is going.

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Are Your Employees Financially Fit?

Financial literacyAs in past years and with previous presidents, President Obama proclaimed this April as National Financial Capability Month.  Financial capability, referred more frequently to financial literacy, means possessing the financial skills and knowledge required to confidently make smart decisions on a variety of financial matters.  One can fairly assume that CPAs possess these necessary skills, but what about your non-CPA colleagues and co-workers?  This month, the findings of several annual surveys are released which highlight the current state of American’s finances, and based on some of this year’s results the financial capability of the average American worker is unfortunately low. 

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Finding Financial Peace During the Holidays

Savings StockingThis time of year always goes by the fastest--it feels like just yesterday I was carving pumpkins and now I’m counting down the remaining shopping days until Christmas. This time of year also can be the most difficult for sticking to a budget established months ago. Even with the economy still struggling, total spending over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend reached a record $52.4 billion, up 16% from $45 billion last year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation released the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Holiday indulgence is impossible to avoid, but peace and understanding may be the best gift you can give to others and yourself.

Teaching children financial lessons is important throughout the year, and the holidays present a perfect opportunity for learning. A friend of mine told me about how her parents used to give each child a set amount of money—about ten dollars—to spend on gifts for everyone. She said that it taught them to carefully think through how much they wanted to spend on each person for whom they wanted to buy a gift; it also made them think through their gift recipient list. This simple exercise incorporated the basic concepts of prioritizing and budgeting.

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Creating a Brighter Future for the Nation’s Children

Piggy bank teaching savingsThe Jump$tart National Educator’s Conference brought together K-12 personal finance public and private school teachers from 46 states in Washington, DC, this weekend.  The annual event highlights tools, resources, information and support for teaching personal finance in the classroom and includes networking and peer-to-peer sessions, as well as workshops and roundtables on advocacy, curricula and personal development.  As the AICPA’s representative on the Jump$tart Board of Directors, I was fortunate to attend this conference, share the AICPA’s financial literacy resources and learn more about the successes and challenges these educators face.

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Tips for a Financially Fit Fall

Teaching Financial LiteracyMany would agree that a significant amount of what we learn is learned at home. In fact, almost 50  percent of those who closely monitor their finances say that they learned about personal finance from their parents or at home. Yet, only 34 percent of parents have taught their teen how to balance a checkbook, and 93 percent of parents with teenagers report worrying that their children might make financial mistakes, such as overspending or living beyond their means. While awareness of the need for greater financial education has grown in recent years, there is still work to be done.

Here are some tips to share with your family and clients to strengthen their financial understanding.

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What's Your Financially Fit Story?

In honor of its 125th anniversary in 2012, the AICPA will publish a book, tentatively titled Raising Financially Fit Families, to help families better understand their finances with lessons from the experts: CPAs. Be a part of this unique publication by submitting an essay highlighting a personal or professional experience you had in on helping others, whether a family member or client, build a brighter financial future.

CPAs’ stories and lessons about savings, planning for big-picture purchases, paying for college and teaching children healthy and life-long money habits will be the centerpiece of the AICPA’s first foray into the consumer book market. Raising Financially Fit Families will be edited by New York Times best-selling author and National CPA Financial Literacy Commission member Sharon Lechter, CPA, whose books include Three Feet from Gold and Rich Dad Poor Dad as well as the newly released Outwitting the Devil. Each selected submission will include the author’s name, company or firm and state CPA society. Visit aicpa.org/financialliteracy for more information, sample essays and details on how to submit an essay for Raising Financially Fit Families.

Melora C. Heavey, AICPA Staff. Melora manages the CPA profession’s volunteer effort, 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, and the award-winning public service campaign, Feed the Pig.  She serves as the staff liaison to the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, the leadership body and primary spokespeople for 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy.

Introducing the WLIFE Awards

Workplace Leaders in Financial Education Awards

What’s the value to employers who offer financial education to their staff? Research shows that workplace programs can:

  • Reduce absenteeism
  • Increase employee productivity
  • Increase contributions to the company's retirement plans
  • Increase employees’ allegiance to their company

To recognize organizations that are making a commitment to their employees well-being by offering exemplary workplace financial education efforts, and to encourage the implementation of such programs by more employers, the AICPA and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) launched the Workplace Leaders in Financial Education Awards (WLIFE). This first-of-its-kind award started as a recommendation by the Subcommittee on Workplace Financial Education of George W. Bush’s President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy. According to a 2009 SHRM survey, 64 percent of employers offer financial education to workers.

Visit the website, wlife.org, to apply, find out more about the award and to learn how to develop or enhance a financial literacy program in your workplace. Winners will be announced October 2011. The AICPA and SHRM plan for this to be an annual award with Year 2 call for entries to begin March 2012. WLIFE is a facet of 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, the volunteer effort of the CPA profession to improve the financial literacy of all Americans.  For more information about volunteering in your community, visit aicpa.org/financialliteracy or visit your state society’s website. 

Melora C. Heavey, Senior Manager – Communications, American Institute of CPAs. Melora manages the CPA profession’s volunteer effort, 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, and the award-winning public service campaign, Feed the Pig.  She serves as the staff liaison to the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, the leadership body and primary spokespeople for 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy.

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