I'm delighted to announce Financial Education, a new HuffPost section in partnership with Bank of America's Better Money Habits initiative. Financial Education will be a hub of stories, advice and tools to help you make informed money management decisions, from planning a budget and reducing debt to improving your credit score and refinancing a mortgage.
Financial Education is rooted in the belief that by empowering ourselves to take control of our own financial lives, we can reduce the stress that so often accompanies financial decisions and at the same time improve the parts of our lives that are about so much more than money: our health, our families, our careers, our homes. It's a useful paradox: by learning more about how money affects our lives, we can make sure it doesn't take over our lives, and by learning how to look after our financial capital, we can also take better care of our human capital.
We're delighted to be partnering with Better Money Habits, which was launched to acknowledge that the financial crisis and recession didn't just affect the American economy as a whole; it deeply affected the lives of individuals and families as well. After conducting a study in partnership with Harris Interactive -- revealing that 32 percent of Americans believe a lack of financial knowledge led them to make bad financial decisions -- Bank of America joined forces with the Khan Academy, one of the great entrepreneurial success stories of recent years. Since April, the Khan Academy and Bank of America have been collaborating on Better MoneyHabits, offering videos that simplify complex financial topics, with the goal of helping people make better money decisions. HuffPost's Financial Education section will feature these videos -- which bring to life key financial issues like credit, loans, interest and taxes -- alongside contributions from HuffPost reporters and our community of bloggers. By doing this, we hope to bring to life one of the bits of good news turned up by Bank of America's study: 71 percent of respondents believe the Internet makes it easier to learn about personal finance.
Here are some statistics that illustrate just how much of a need there is for more financial literacy and education in America:
- According to the Federal Reserve, Americans collectively owe $846.9 billion in credit card debt, more than $1 trillion in student loans, and $7.75 trillion in mortgages.
- Sixty-one percent of Americans who participated in FINRA's National Financial Capability Study in 2012 did not compare credit cards, resulting in higher interest rates and fees.
- Fifty-six percent of those respondents said they didn't have a rainy day fund.
- Asked to grade their knowledge of personal finance, 40 percent of American adults who participated in the NFCC's 2013 Financial Literacy Survey gave themselves a grade of C, D or F.
- Sixty-eight percent of polled parents say they would need to make tradeoffs in their own lives to afford back-to-school purchases for their children, according to an American Express Spending & Saving Tracker report.
On Financial Education you'll read bloggers including Salman Khan on why a world-class education should include an understanding of finance, Sallie Krawcheck on the top 10 financial mistakes women make, CreditSesame.com founder Adrian Nazari on the 7 habits of people with great credit scores, author Allison Vesterfelt on the three things she wishes she'd known before taking on student debt, debt expert Steve Rhode on why debt relief help is broken in America, Women's Investment Network founder Natalie Pace on how to instill smart finance habits in your children, and Credit.com co-founder Adam Levin on four things you can do every year to save money. And to bring you an even wider range of voices from the financial world, we'll be featuring contributions from Credit.com and the Financial Blogger conference, which each year brings together a range of financial experts and professionals to discuss everything from how gender roles affect family finance decisions to how military families can save money.
So, welcome to Financial Education. As always, please use the comments section to let us know what you think.
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