My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

Financial Literacy MonthAs we wrap up April and Financial Literacy Month, I'd like to take a moment and recap what we’ve shared throughout the past several weeks. Floridians of all ages have financial goals, and our Department works diligently to ensure consumers have the necessary tools and resources to turn those dreams into reality.

Our state is recognized nationally for being the top place to retire. Whether you’re around the corner from retirement or diligently planning ahead, we have programs that answer some of the most commonly asked questions, such as how much you will need and what type of retirement plan you should invest in.Save Today and Retire Tomorrow The Department’s S.T.A.R.T. (Save Today and Retire Tomorrow) program is a great resource to learn more.

While many retirees call the Sunshine State home, Florida’s seniors are often targets of financial fraud and scams. As we work to keep every hard-earned dollar in your pocket where it belongs, DFS offers free Be Scam Smart workshops through our Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) program.Stop Adult Financial Exploitation These workshops teach seniors how to spot some of the most common frauds and scams as part of our On Guard for Seniors initiative.

Whether you’re buying a car or saving for college, it’s important to understand the value of your dollar and how to make smart, responsible investments. From first-time shoppers to those who regularly practice budgeting, there’s always more to learn. I encourage everyone to continue learning about best practices so you can make sound financial decisions using the most up-to-date information.Financial Frontlines

We truly have a wide range of resources designed to fit the diverse needs of our state. For example, Financial Frontlines is an online resource designed specifically for military servicemembers and their families. Our office provides information on the Military Lending Act, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, and protecting one’s credit while on active duty.

It’s never too early to teach your children the importance of saving — in fact, it’s better to start developing good saving habits at a young age. This week I’ll be visiting one school to discuss financial literacy and learn about how teachers are incorporating financial lessons into their curriculum. I'll be at River City Science Academy in Jacksonville on April 28, and my team will be at Kingdom Academy in Miami on April 29.

I hope you were able to further your financial education this month and take advantage of one of the many programs and resources our office makes available. I encourage everyone to do something before the month ends to enhance or kick-start your financial literacy. To access the free resources mentioned in this letter, be sure to visit our website — www.myFloridaCFO.com/YMM.

Sincerely,

Jeff
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Florida's Bottom LineCFO Newsletter and Special Event Win Image Awards

The Department recently received multiple awards during the Florida Public Relations Association Capital Chapter’s annual Image Awards Ceremony held last Thursday, April 21, in Tallahassee. The competition recognizes top public relations programs throughout the Big Bend region.

The Department received an Image Award and an overall Grand Image Award for their entry of Florida’s Bottom Line, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater’s quarterly newsletter, that gives Floridians clear, unfiltered economic data and analysis to help them make sound financial decisions. The most recent edition Fire Fighter Memorialabout Financial Markets and Florida was released last week and can be accessed from the FBL website at www.myfloridacfo.com/floridasbottomline/.

In addition, the Department received an Award of Distinction for their Special Event entry of the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of the Monument to Florida’s Firefighters at the Capitol.  Additional information about the Firefighter Memorial at the Florida State Capitol can be found on the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association webpage at www.ffca.org.

Join us in congratulating the team for their award-winning contributions!

Highlighting Financial Markets — The Latest Edition of Florida's Bottom Line Is Now AvailableAsh Williams, Executive Director of the SBA

Ash Williams guest authored a column in our latest edition. Here is an excerpt:

As we come to the end of Q1 2016, a quick comparison of current equity market valuations and interest rates to those at the start of the year would show little change and imply a stable period. In fact, the first part of 2016 was characterized by extreme market volatility, as reflected by U.S. equity prices falling approximately 10 percent and then recovering. What were the conditions that caused such extreme changes in perceived market value and what do they mean to investors?

The most fundamental question has been whether the U.S. and other economies can sustain or strengthen the slow, modest recovery we have been in since the great financial crisis or whether economies will tip back into recession or worse. Events that raise doubt about the sustainability of recovery tip financial markets away from risk assets (stocks) and toward non-risk assets (treasury bonds). The immediate reflection of these emotional moves is stock price declines and bond price increases (meaning lower interest rates).

Read more from Ash Williams in Florida's Bottom Line, CFO Atwater's quarterly economic magazine, focused on providing you with the latest news and insightful analysis on Florida's economic and financial health.

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida’s housing market increases over the year
In March, there were over 23,700 closed home sales in Florida, down 0.6 percent from this time last year. Additionally, the median sale price of homes is up 10.3 percent over the year, to a post-recession high of $209,500.
Source: Florida Realtors

Florida’s new housing permits up 10 percent over the year
In March, Florida’s new housing permits rose 10 percent over the prior year. Higher home building permits indicate a growing supply of homes for sale in the future.
Source: U.S. Census