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Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz


Lt. Governor Bysiewicz Delivers Keynote Speech to the Community Renewal Team's 2020 Financial Literacy Institute Graduates

Tells Graduates that Financial Literacy is Key to Investing in Yourself and Future

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz delivered the keynote speech at the Community Renewal Team's 2020 Financial Literacy Institute graduation on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020.

The Community Renewal Team's Financial Literacy Institute is a 14-week intensive course that provides students with an in-depth understanding of their financial world. The institute teaches students about budgeting and savings; establishing and rebuilding credit; investment planning; addressing financial stressors; and protecting assets.

Earlier this year, as Chairwoman of the Governor's Council on Women and Girls, Lt. Governor Bysiewicz helped to launch the Financial Literacy Portal an initiative that helps to ensure helpful resources from state agencies and nonprofits that support financial literacy are highlighted and accessible in a centralized place.

Video of this year's Financial Literacy Institute Graduation Ceremony can be found here.

Good evening, graduates!

I could not be more proud to be with you today – albeit virtually – to celebrate this significant milestone.

Today’s accomplishment would not have been made possible without the tireless hard work you put into your studies over these last few months.

But no matter the difficulty or the challenges you were facing as you sought to understand your financial world, you stayed the course, learned new money habits and have set yourselves up for success.

Congratulations to each of you on this momentous achievement!

Please give yourselves a round of applause for all of your hard work.

And what better way to celebrate the Community Renewal Team’s decade class than by graduating its largest class of graduates yet.

Ten years ago, the Community Renewal Team – under the leadership of Elizabeth Horton Sheff, Lena Rodriguez, and Eileen Feliciano – sought to break down barriers for individuals living in underserved communities who did not have access to financial literacy educational opportunities.

And thank you Elizabeth and Lena, for all of your service to the City of Hartford and our local communities.

Thanks to their work in educating individuals and their families about budgeting; savings; establishing and rebuilding credit; investment planning; and addressing financial stresses, they have turned financial literacy from being an obstacle into an opportunity.

An opportunity to invest in yourself.

An opportunity to invest in your education or business.

An opportunity to invest in your loved ones.

And an opportunity to invest in your future.

Knowledge is power and one of the best investments you can make is in yourself.

For each of you, this class was not a prerequisite, or a requirement.

It was an opportunity you each sought because you wanted to make better financial decisions and learn how to set yourself up for unmeasured success.

That starts with gaining financial wisdom and changing your outlook on finance and money.

And today’s ceremony marks the start of that new chapter.

For so many individuals, understanding the fundamentals of how to save money; conquer what. may seem like an insurmountable amount of debt; pay for a higher education; avoid pay day lenders; and credit card debt, makes a significant difference in our lives and allows us to take control.

Personal finance education has never been more relevant than it is today during the COVID-19 era.

This pandemic has left too many wondering how to navigate their financial obligations.

That’s why as Chairwoman of the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls improving access to financial literacy has been one of my top priorities.

I am also proud to say that the Community Renewal Team is a member of the Steering Committee of the council’s Economic Opportunity and Workforce Equity Subcommittee.

Earlier this year, we launched the Financial Literacy Portal – an initiative that helps to ensure helpful resources from state agencies and nonprofits that support financial literacy are highlighted.

From providing information about family budgeting; credit reports; financing higher education; rent and home buying; purchasing a vehicle; financial wellness for individuals with disabilities; and resources for veterans, this platform provides residents with the resources and guidance they need to succeed as a business owner, student, worker, retiree or citizen.

And, during these times of economic hardship, it’s vital that we arm individuals with the resources needed to succeed.

We know that we can better set ourselves up to succeed by making sure that all of our students learn financial literacy as part of their curriculum.

How many of you when you at 16 or 18 were so excited to land your first job and start earning money?

Let’s see a quick virtual show of hands!

I know I certainly was.

Now another show of hands – how many of you knew and understood how to properly save your money at that age?

The reality is that many of our teenagers and young adults are not prepared for the financial obstacles ahead.

As college tuition rises, students are borrowing more.

As the cost of living rises, so many young adults can’t afford rent or a mortgage payment.

And people are being asked to do more with less.

Research shows that students who are required to learn financial literacy as part of their curriculum will make better financial decisions across multiple platforms and better adult-life money decisions.

I hope each of you take this new knowledge and expertise and applies it to every facet of your lives.

And, I hope you educate your loved ones, friends, and coworkers about the importance of money management.

Each of you are leaving this class with a skill-set that is priceless.

Knowing your worth; knowing how to achieve success; and knowing financial freedom.

Those are things that can’t be bought.

It is my expectation that you will use these building blocks to chart a new course for yourself.

Whether that’s understanding how to pursue that degree inhigher education; pay your financial obligations on-time; purchase a home or new car; or invest in the business you’ve always wanted to start,

I know that you will be successful in whatever path you choose because of your hard work and commitment to changing your financial habits.

Congratulations to each of you!

I can’t wait to see what you all accomplish!

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Samantha Norton

Director of Communications