April is Financial Literacy Month. During this month, the DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB), an eager proponent of financial education and intelligence, emphasizes and focuses even more on revamping its efforts in consumer outreach, education and empowerment.
Make no mistake, financial literacy is not to be taken as an end in and of itself. No, DISB sees financial literacy as a means to an end. That end is knowledgeable District residents with the tools and power in place to make the best financial decisions, establish and maintain financial habits that improve their standard of living, and to identify and protect themselves from financial fraud, scams and other bad players. We want residents to move beyond empowerment and into the realm of changing social behaviors and habits.
That is why our agency is so focused on using Financial Literacy Month to host seminars and workshops throughout the city, to get in front of you to give you the information you need to protect your financial interests. All of this comes at no direct cost to you. We want to encourage and guide you as you take a step further to make those life-changing habits that put you on the road to financial independence and security.
In the next few weeks, DISB expects the District’s first Financial Literacy Council to take shape. Created by legislation last year, the council will act as a conduit for all the financial education and programs in the District, and serve as an adviser to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and to the Council of the District of Columbia. One other component is that it also provides for financial education in the District’s public school system.
Last year has been especially trying for many Americans—with massive job losses, home foreclosures, loss of consumer confidence and an increase in a number of financial scams popping up. However, DISB, a consumer protection District government agency, continues to work with you in thwarting home foreclosures, solving your insurance complaints, providing information on our Web site or through our consumer tips and alerts, and helping you through the complicated web of financial services.
We will continue to expand our work as we collaborate with other DC government agencies, the money management industry and other nonprofits. The work we do will be carried on through the rest of 2009 and beyond. Please visit our agency calendar on the DISB website for updates. Part of our agency’s goal for 2009 is to reach out to more District consumers, to highlight our consumer-education and consumer protection efforts in the fight against fraud, as well as to provide a groundswell of knowledge and information. When consumers are knowledgeable, they can be more responsive, confident and safe in the marketplace.
So, for April, we want you to stop for a minute and take a look at your finances. Has your life situation changed? Are you interested in learning new strategies to assure your family’s economic success? As we know, in America, it is expensive to be poor as too many people with lower incomes are forced to turn to fringe products and providers to meet basic needs. But DISB is here to ensure financial empowerment through knowledge to stabilize your financial lives.
The consumer newsletter, DISPATCH, has been updated for 2009. DISB will now publish the issues quarterly to have the opportunity to provide more in-depth reporting and more stories. In this winter edition, find out about the tax breaks in the stimulus bill; as well as about the new COBRA benefits in 2009. Read about how DISB is dealing with foreclosure mitigation and about one employee’s work above and beyond the call of duty. Browse through our 66 Ways to Save Money and find out more about the National Consumer Protection Week for which DISB had signed on, and a whole lot more.
As always, we hope you will find something in our newsletter pages that keeps you coming back for more.
DISB Office of Communications