Fortunately, we can all do something about this -- even if you feel like you need a money-management lesson yourself. The federal government wants your opinion about how to improve financial literacy in America. The Department of the Treasury, in its capacity as Chair of the Financial Literacy and Education Commission, has invited the public to comment on a proposed set of financial education basics known as "core competencies."
Specifically, the government wants your feedback on whether its list of Core Competencies is complete and whether there are portions that should be deleted, revised, or expanded. Here is the Federal Register Notice that explains the proposed Core Competencies and the public comment process in greater detail.
It is possible to end up with more than one IRA for a number of reasons. For example:
· You had an existing Roth account and then rolled an old 401(k) into a Traditional IRA.
· Your adjusted gross income (AGI) rose to the point where you were no longer eligible to contribute to your Roth IRA, so you opened a Traditional IRA.
· You inherited an IRA from a loved one, but you already had one of your own.
· You maintained your Roth account and opened a Traditional IRA to take advantage of tax deductions.
Contribute to as many IRAs as you want, but the total deposited in all IRAs is limited to the annual maximum amount. For example, the annual maximum contribution for 2008 is $5,000. So, if Bob deposits $2,000 into his Traditional IRA, he can also contribute $3,000 to his Roth account during the same year.
Please do make your voice heard on this matter. It's so easy to do and it will take just a few minutes. Even if you don't know what curriculum-type additions should be made, tell the government what personal finance information you wish you had learned before this economic downturn began.
You must submit your comments on or before September 12, 2010. You can email your comments to:
Alternatively, you can mail written comments to:
Department of the Treasury
Office of Financial Education and Financial Access
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC, 20220
I plan to email my own suggestions because after reviewing the list of Core Competencies, I saw sections about saving, spending, earning and borrowing money, but nothing there about investing or donating money. Those are two areas that should be added. Also, I believe the section on borrowing should be greatly expanded and broken down into specific categories, such as home loans, car loans, student loans, credit cards and so on.
Americans often complain that government doesn't listen or that our tax dollars go to things that we don't support. Well, who can argue with increased financial education and promoting financial literacy? This is a no-brainer on which we can all come together. If we do, hopefully we'll help avoid another financial meltdown like the one we're currently trying to escape.
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, an award-winning financial news journalist and former Wall Street Journal reporter for CNBC, has been featured in the Washington Post, USA Today, and the New York Times, as well as magazines ranging from Essence and Redbook to Black Enterprise and Smart Money. Check out her New York Times best seller 'Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom.'