Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says financial education and planning boost the economy, and students who learn those skills are likely to save more later in life and better weather market turbulence.

“Financial education supports not only individual well-being, but also the economic health of our nation,” Bernanke says. “Consumers who can make informed decisions about financial products and services not only serve their own best interests, but, collectively, they also help promote broader economic stability.”

Financial education “can play a key role” in promoting financial planning such as budgeting and saving for emergencies and retirement, which help households live better and be better positioned to handle financial shocks, says Bernanke, a former Princeton University professor whose wife, Anna, is a teacher.

Students today face a brighter future than their parents, Bernanke says. The U.S. has been a leader in technology, and rising productivity has been the key to boosting living standards over time, he said.

In addition, a “very healthy immigration rate” and a “healthy fertility rate” are giving the U.S. more favorable “demographics” than other industrialized countries, Bernanke said.

“There are certainly some very important challenges” including “fiscal challenges” and education, the Fed chairman says.

Bernanke adds that early childhood education is “crucial” and that effective financial schooling supports the economy by reducing poverty and boosting wages. Educational attainment is “a key source of economic growth and rising incomes” in many countries, Bernanke says.

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