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And Now Some Advice From the Fed Chairman

May 20, 2003|From Associated Press

Take it from Alan Greenspan: "There's a lot to learn about money."

That's the slogan for a new Federal Reserve financial literacy campaign designed to help people manage their money.

"No matter who you are, making informed decisions about what to do with your money will help build a more stable financial future for you and your family," Greenspan says in a public service television ad produced to promote the campaign.

Greenspan's appearance in a public service announcement -- a first for the central bank head -- comes at a time when the struggling U.S. economy and rising job losses are increasingly squeezing the finances of many Americans.

Personal bankruptcies reached a new high in the 12 months ended March 31, and the percentage of U.S. home loans in foreclosure hit a record high in the fourth quarter of 2002.

The ad features the Fed's new educational Web site, at www, and a toll-free telephone number, (800) 411-5435, that consumers can call for a free brochure with tips on setting up a monthly family budget and getting the best deal on a loan.

Federal Reserve board member Edward Gramlich, who previewed the television spot for reporters Monday, said the new Web site features consumer finance information aimed at helping people make the right decisions about such issues as savings and debt.

"Credit is more widely available, particularly to young people, seniors and low- and moderate-income populations," Gramlich said.

"With such changes come new opportunities but also risks, including the potential for fraud and abuse," he added.

As part of the educational campaign, Greenspan and J. Alfred Broaddus Jr., president of the Richmond, Va., Federal Reserve bank, will address students at John Philip Sousa Middle School in Washington on June 5 on the importance of learning sound math and problem-solving skills.

"Our hope is to encourage consumers to take advantage of the programs available in their communities, schools and on the Web," Gramlich said.

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