Members of a state commission meeting in Jupiter this week emphasized the importance of financial education with nearly half of Florida families struggling to make ends meet.

“Studies show that 45 percent of Florida households, or 3.2 million families, are living paycheck to paycheck and are just one unexpected expense from financial catastrophe,” said Patti W. Hamilton of Tequesta, chair of the Florida Commission on the Status of Women. “We recognized the real need for a coordinated effort among public and private service and financial organizations to educate women and their families on how to best access financial education and resources.”

In Palm Beach County, about 12 percent of households live in poverty and another 29 percent are working but living on the edge financially, a United Way analysis found.

The cost of “survival” expenses such as housing, food, transportation and health care in a county such as Palm Beach can run close to double the formal U.S. poverty level, according to the study.

The share of households living with incomes below what the analysis calculated as the basic cost of living in Palm Beach County include 72 percent in Canal Point, 55 percent in West Palm Beach, 42 percent in Delray Beach, 30 percent in Jupiter and 24 percent in Wellington.

Thursday’s summit was aimed at helping people, especially women, connect with educational resources and support, Hamilton said.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater of North Palm Beach, who offered his office’s assistance to the commission, said working as a banker brought him into contact with households where women often juggled work and family responsibilities.

“The Department of Financial Services has many programs to help Floridians at all stages of life with wise money management, and it is through our ongoing collaboration with public and private partners like the commission

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