Suncoast Credit Union is playing a key role with underwriting support in working with Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and a diverse coalition to launch “MoneyWise Florida,” a statewide financial education initiative to help protect the fiscal health of Floridians. The new program was announced in a press conference yesterday.
Patronis and coalition members shared details of the initiative’s statewide survey of Floridians that reflects widespread concern about the lasting damage the pandemic is causing to the current and future financial health of many families and individuals. The group unveiled a website – www.MoneyWiseFlorida.com – designed to be a clearinghouse of helpful financial information.
Joining Patronis and the Florida Department of Financial Services in the initiative are: underwriting/sponsorship of the initiative by Suncoast Credit Union; and organizational support and partnership by the Florida Credit Union Association; Florida Insurance Council; Florida Institute of CPAs; Florida Prosperity Partnership; the Florida Alliance of Consumers & Taxpayers (FACT); and the Florida Bankers Association.
“We appreciate CFO Jimmy Patronis’s leadership in bringing together industry experts to help promote financial wellness among Floridians. This project began well before the COVID-19 pandemic, but now, more than ever, people are concerned about their financial situations. We have long advocated for increased financial education and we look forward to working with these partners to ensure a successful statewide program. We couldn’t be prouder that the lead sponsor of this initiative is one of our own as well, so thank you to Kevin Johnson and Suncoast Credit Union for their commitment to a worthy cause,” said LSCU President Jared Ross, a member of the initiative.
According to a survey earlier this month, more than two-thirds of state residents are worried about its lasting negative impact on their household fiscal health. Only about a quarter of the state’s residents say they always follow a monthly budget.
MoneyWise Florida is meant to provide practical advice to help millions of Floridians with topics ranging from getting jobs, climbing out of debt, securing a mortgage, saving for a child’s college education and planning for a secure retirement, among many others.
“Many people are understandably worried about their families’ future because they’re struggling so hard just to make ends meet,” said Kevin Johnson, president and CEO of Suncoast Credit Union. “Our goal is to help Floridians with direction and answers or suggestions about their toughest problems so they can relieve some of the stress related to this difficult and prolonged period.”
The new statewide financial issues poll, conducted May 1-5, surveyed 2,000 Florida voters. Among the findings:
- More than three-quarters of Floridians (77%) say COVID-19 has created “more” financial stress on their households, including 43% who say it has caused “significantly more.”
- Since COVID-19 hit, Floridians have adjusted how they address various financial matters, including 13% fewer who have put money aside for savings or emergencies and 10% fewer who say they have contributed to a retirement plan or IRA.
- Fully 7 in 10 Floridians (70%) could not make ends meet for more than six months on savings alone. This number soars to 88% for those younger than 35 and 89% for minorities.
- As a result of the economic hit of the COVID-19 pandemic, 60% say they will be seeking financial advice – including where to find financial relief, how to make savings last longer, and how to deal with debt.
- One-third of respondents (33%) say they “often feel I need help understanding financial tasks,” with even higher numbers among younger adults, those without a college education, and minorities (42% each).
See the press conference video here.