Question: What is the state of the American Economy today?
Carrie Schwab: Oh! Gosh.
The economy right now is scary times. This whole subprime issue, obviously, has affected so many people and so many institutions in our country [USA]. It has gone to places that no one ever knew that would affect.
But I am an optimist in our country and in our economic system.
I have been in the business financial world since I was 16; so over 30 years; and I have seen ebbs and flows, and well today feels like the bottom. During September 11, 2001, that felt like the bottom. And I know the 1970s for my father, he talks about his divorce, I was in debt, I am trying to start a business.
These ebbs and flows are just a way of life. And we will get out of it. I know a lot of analyst are very positive. They’re starting to see indications that we are getting out of it. I feel very confident that we will, and we will look back at this and say “yeah, this was another tough time in our country, but you know what, we are going to have more.”
Question: What are you looking forward to in the financial markets?
Carrie Schwab: I am very involved with this presidential advisory council on financial literacy.
To me, what I am excited about is the possibilities of helping more Americans become what we call, financially fit. In other words, they are saving enough money, they are learning about how to protect themselves financially, they are having more choices in their life.
We are helping middle income people to low income people.
I think we are going to see a lot of change in that, where people will participate more in our economic system. Working closely with that is something that I am very excited about and I am tracking along the way.
As President of the Charles Schwab Foundation, we have a national relationship with the Boys and Girls Club that I oversee. And we have created an after school program for disadvantaged kids. In a three period, we will have 90,000 kids go through that program. Either kids in our cities, in native American lands; kids would never have access to this information.
I am meeting these kids, hearing how, learning about money and managing money properly and changing their lives. I look forward to seeing hundreds of thousands of kids going through this program.
As we go do other efforts, consumer out reach at Schwab in particular, we are going to see more and more Americans that are going to be in a better financial position.
Recorded on: March 27, 2008