Tip of the Week

Taking the High Ground on Financial Literacy

A recent partnership among some of the largest corporations in the country puts a new spotlight on an old issue—financial literacy. This latest effort to expand corporate and national attention to this issue is no modest goal but can benefit from already existing programs and resources that have been addressing this challenge for decades. Focusing beyond age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status, this issue already has many advocates and resources whose efforts have been generally successful but the knowledge base, although improving, remains much lower than desirable. Research has identified adult populations including preretirees, women, and low- to middle-income families who can substantially benefit from financial literacy programs, as well as the financial institutions who engage in programs, products, and services relevant to their needs.

Financial services professionals and organizations already play a key role in financial education and literacy, providing information and guidance while working with their current and prospective clients and community. Yet many opportunities are available for expanding this attention within and beyond their own perimeter, and for reasons of mutual benefit.

Financial literacy is a humanitarian educational effort that will improve the lives of individuals and families. Conducting, participating in, and sponsoring such programs can be a fundamental strategy for financial professionals and organizations to engage in and benefit from the extensive and expanding efforts to improve the level of financial literacy across the generations.