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TALLAHASEE, Fla. – Envision Credit Union is hoping to give financial literacy a boost with the Get Ahead Partnership. According to Envision CU President/CEO Ray E. Cromer Jr., the Get Ahead Partnership is designed to close the gap in what people know about money. “When it comes to money management, too many people rely on trial and error. Too often a financial mistake can be costly and its consequences can be long-lasting,” said Cromer. “Knowledge is the key to financial independence. Learning how to manage money, credit and debt is a lesson that will pay dividends for a lifetime.” The partnership consists of Leon County Public Schools, the Consumer Federation of the Southeast, Gadsden Saves, the Capital Area Community Action Agency, Inc., and the Tallahassee Board of Realtors. The group recently commissioned a survey to gauge the financial attitudes of area residents. The survey found that not only do nearly 18% say they live paycheck to paycheck with nearly 17% saying they save less than $100 a month, but also one out of every five respondents carries more than $2,000 in credit card debt. In addition, 96% of those surveyed believe young people should be learning financial management skills in school – with 65% saying financial education should begin in elementary school. “Too many people have to either sink or swim when it comes to dealing with money issues,” said Walter Dartland, executive director of the Consumer Federation of the Southeast. “Providing people with skills like budgeting, managing money, and saving is important to helping them avoid making poor financial decisions.” The survey also finds that nearly 19% of respondents believe high school students are in the most need of financial literacy – followed by people with low incomes (16%), people with young families (12%) and college students (10%). To help prepare area residents to make informed financial decisions, the Get Ahead Partnership plans to redouble Envision CU’s efforts to provide young people with information on money, credit and debt and increase outreach to underserved communities in the region. In addition a financial literacy Web site, www.getaheadnow.org, designed to put financial education information at consumers’ fingertips, has been launched.

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