WASHINGTON -- In the wake of the nations's economic meltdown, financial literacy and financial consumer protections have taken on an urgency in the Obama White House. On Tuesday, Obama's new Advisory Council on Financial Literacy was launched at a meeting chaired by Jonathan Rogers with fellow Chicagoans, White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and Public Engagement chief Tina Tchen at the table.
"There was a consensus that we work with younger people and get people exposed to all the issues around financial literacy at younger ages," Rogers told me after the meeting at the Treasury Department. "Not only does it make them better investors and savers when they get older, but their parents and their aunts and their uncles can learn from the young people."
Rogers has long been involved in financial literacy issues, working with disadvantaged youth at the Chicago Public School he founded, the Ariel Community Academy in Kenwood. The Rogers panel replaces a commission created by President Bush in 2008.
As the U.S. regulatory system was failing, people got themselves into jams by agreeing to expensive loans that set them up for financial failure. The Obama White House pushed legislation that created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, being established by White House advisor Elizabeth Warren.
As part of a new national strategy on financial literacy--unveiled Tuesday by the Financial Literacy and Education Commission, the Rogers and Warren panels will have overlapping missions.
While a push for financial literacy is on Rogers agenda--knowing the basics of earning, spending, saving, investing and borrowing--part of Warren's job, Tchen noted is to make sure the "level they need to be literate is not being a lawyer and a financial planner."