Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is celebrating Developmental Disability Awareness Month, observed in March, by featuring a Department of Financial Services’ financial literacy program called “My Money” that was designed to help those with developmental disabilities learn how money works, and how to manage finances with confidence. Knowing that a strong understanding of personal finances is crucial to gaining independence, the Department has designed and championed a series of financial literacy programs that are uniquely tailored to meet the needs of all Floridians. Released last year, My Money is the newest program in the series.
“All Floridians should have strong money management skills, and it is our goal to provide programs that help our state’s residents attain them, regardless of their age, income level or ability,” said CFO Atwater.
The My Money program is a three-step, user-friendly program that allows individuals with developmental disabilities to learn at their own pace in an accessible, easy-to-navigate and interactive format. The self-directed program also includes interactive, how-to videos that teach practical financial skills like using an ATM and writing a check.
- Step One includes personalized lessons on how to recognize coins and paper money and how they are used to purchase goods and services, the difference between a want and a need, and explains the concept of a banking account;
• Step Two provides interactive lessons on how banks and credit unions can help manage finances and outlines the basics of formulating a budget to make sure that one’s expenses don’t exceed one’s income;
• Step Three focuses on understanding and applying for government benefits that are available to help cover household and medical costs, as well as the benefits of securing gainful employment. Step Three also outlines the importance of saving and investing money as a way of planning for the future.
My Money also offers a portal for parents, guardians and support providers of individuals with developmental disabilities to assist in teaching money management skills. This program was developed in partnership with the Florida Department of Education, Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Commission on Jobs for Floridians with Disabilities, the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, the Arc of Florida, the Florida Alliance for Assistive Technology, Disability Rights Florida, and the National Disability Institute.
Developmental Disability Awareness Month celebrates the abilities, achievements and contributions of those with developmental disabilities.
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services, serves as Florida’s State Fire Marshal, and is a member of the Florida Cabinet. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government; reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses; and providing transparency and accountability in spending.