Financial literacy needs a shot in the arm

first_imgAccording to a recent study by the Council for Economic Education, the number of states that require high school students to complete any coursework in economics, has dropped over the last two years. Only 20 states currently mandate that high school students take economics — two fewer than in 2014. Just 17 states require high school students take a course in personal finance. That number has not improved in recent years.A few years back, 30,000 teenagers from 18 countries were surveyed and it was found that more than 1 in 6 students in the U.S. failed to reach the baseline level of proficiency in financial literacy. Students in the United States spend about 1,000 hours in school each year, and yet very few, if any, of that time is dedicated to learning about personal finance. The result? American students fall in the middle of the financial literacy pack globally, performing on average behind Latvia and just ahead of Russia. That should concern us all.So what are we going to do? Are credit unions making a difference? I took a look at a WalletHub study that was recently done. They analyzed financial education programs and consumer habits in each of the 50 states and the findings are rather interesting. Wisconsin, which I have viewed as the mothership of credit union land, was ranked 13th in “financial knowledge and education”  and 17th in financial planning a “daily financial habits.” The full report is here.Now, I’m not blaming the credit union movement, because there are no doubt many factors at play. But I think we all can agree, we have a problem and an opportunity. Our associations, our leagues and our centers of influence need to push the financial literacy agenda. At the same time, credit union leadership and boards need to assure they are doing their part to execute aggressive financial literacy programs. Let’s be very honest; we have a vested interest in seeing Americans improve their financial situation. 31SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Bryan Clagett Bryan is on the executive team and singularly focused on driving revenue growth through a variety of new initiatives that help financial services and fintech become ever more relevant to … Web: Detailslast_img read more

€21bn pension merger back on track as transport sector schemes agree terms

first_imgSPF, which took the initiative to restart the merger talks, said the agreement could significantly contribute to its mission, vision and strategy, as well as retaining the connection with the public transport sector.It also cited improved options for cost reduction, board continuity and expertise as well as innovation of products and services.The railways scheme had already improved its sustainability by simplifying its pension plan and asset management policy. It had also moved IT to the cloud for cost and security reasons.SPOV made clear that it needed to grow in order to keep costs down and efficiently implement its pension arrangements. Back on track: SPF and SPOV have agreed to a merger after talks in 2016 collapsedAccording to the pension funds, final decisions on the merger will be made in the autumn of this year, with the merged scheme expected to become operational at the end of 2019. The integration of SPF Beheer was scheduled to be completed at the end of 2020.The pension funds – which have 104,000 members and 93 employers between them – said they wanted to integrate SPF Beheer into the new organisation. They said they were currently working with the provider to improve efficiency and the security of its IT services.SPOV said that the project management of the latter would be outsourced, while the fiduciary arrangements at SPF Beheer would also be improved.At year-end, funding of SPF and SPOV stood at 115.1% and 109,1%, respectively, which enabled them to grant their participants and pensioners inflation-linked payments of 0.64% and 0.14%, respectively.SPF’s investment portfolio lost 0.8% in 2018, while SPOV lost 0.7%.SPF reported administration costs per participant of €118, and spent 39bps on asset management and 6bps on transactions.SPOV said its costs per participant amounted to €142, after negotiations with SPF Beheer resulted in a €24-per-person discount.Its asset management and transaction costs were 43bps and 7bps, respectively. Dutch railways pension fund SPF and public transport scheme SPOV have agreed to merge, creating a €21bn sector scheme.The pension funds planned to integrate their shared asset manager and administrator SPF Beheer in the deal, they indicated in their annual reports for 2018.Earlier merger talks between SPF and SPOV collapsed in 2016 after the schemes concluded that a merger would not provide sufficient benefits for their participants.The €3.9bn SPOV, being the smaller partner, in particular feared that it would lose its identity and questioned the quality and continuity of service provision by SPF Beheer.last_img read more

Smith: Baseball needing Braun’s innocence

first_imgAs most baseball fans have undoubtedly heard by now, Milwaukee Brewers superstar and former-MVP Ryan Braun is being linked to performance-enhancing drugs for the second time in his six-year career.Yahoo! Sports reported Tuesday night that Braun’s name appeared on the records of a clinic – Biogenesis of America LLC – with a long history of connections between athletes and PEDs.Braun is the latest of several high profile baseball players to appear on the clinic’s records. Alex Rodriguez, Gio Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz headlined similar allegations last week.This development comes little more than a year after Braun allegedly tested positive for high levels of testosterone during the 2011 MLB playoffs. Braun proceeded to appeal the test and became the first player to ever win an appeal regarding a failed drug test, citing procedural flaws with his urine samples.As a fan, my initial reactions to Tuesday’s report were shock, disbelief and anger. I felt like a complete fool who had been duped after buying into Braun’s pleas for innocence in December 2011.After the haze of shock began to subside, I decided to give Braun the benefit of the doubt one more time and began to look deeper into the story, searching for any glimmer of hope leading me to believe he could somehow be innocent.Further investigation provided what I was looking for. According to the report, Braun’s name did appear in the clinic’s records, but his name was not affiliated with any PEDs unlike other players in the document.Turns out Braun was on the clinic’s records because he owed them money for consulting with Anthony Bosch, the founder of the clinic, during his appeal in 2011-2012.The Yahoo! Sports article reported that Braun met with Bosch to talk about his urine samples and the amount of testosterone that was present in them. After meeting with Bosch, Braun and his agent were so dissatisfied with his attempt at assistance that they refused to reimburse Bosch for his time.This evidence was just enough to keep my belief that Braun is clean as a whistle, and this is just all a big conspiracy to tarnish the left fielder’s reputation.I know, I might be taking the role of homer. If Braun played for any team other than the Brewers, I would most likely chalk him up as just another cheater and disregard anything he does for the rest of his major league career.But, before you condemn Braun to a death sentence similar to that of Barry Bonds or Sammy Sosa, give me one chance to tell you why it is absolutely essential for baseball fans and the game itself to give Braun the chance to prove he is innocent before putting an asterisk on an otherwise stellar career.With the overpopulation of proven steroid users over the last couple of decades or so in MLB – Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez and Melky Cabrera come to mind – baseball fans need superstar players who are not linked to steroids.Fans are already becoming cynics after time and time again they are embarrassed when they find out their favorite player cheated.It is getting to the point where supporters will no longer look at the game with the same awe and innocence that once existed in the fan experience.Nowadays, a baseball enthusiast will look at a player’s stats, see he is hitting over .300 and has 30 homeruns and immediately have at least the smallest inclination the player is on something.If Braun is proven to be guilty of using PEDs, professional baseball will suffer another catastrophic blow to its already tarnished reputation. I for one will never be able to love the game again the way I do now if Braun is guilty of using steroids.If he is ever proven innocent of his alleged use of PEDs, I believe it will provide a monumental boost to the MLB’s efforts to rid the connotations of steroids that riddle the perception of the game in each and every stadium.I am not saying within the outcome of Braun’s connection with PEDs lies the fate of Major League Baseball. But I am saying if Braun gets added to the list of proven steroid users, baseball will be on the fast track to never being taken seriously again.So I urge you, all fans of baseball and all that is good, to bear with Ryan Braun and give him a chance to show he is not just another perpetrator of one of baseball’s most heinous crimes because if the MVP can prove his innocence once and for all, it will be a triumph that could feasibly catapult baseball out of the depths of the steroid era and into a new time where an athlete’s performance is based off what comes from his body, not what he pumps into it.Spencer is a senior majoring in journalism. What do you think of Ryan Braun and baseball in the steroids era? Let him know with an email to [email protected] or tweet @sj_smith23.last_img read more