ICFE eNEWS #14-08 - Apr 7th 2014
April is Financial Literacy Month. So What?
by Dan Rutherford
Before writing this post, I did a brief survey of my colleagues to ask for their thoughts about what financial literacy means and why it is important. Here are some of the responses I got:
"A fair financial marketplace requires that consumers be informed about the products and services they are buying."
"What are you going to do when you can't work anymore? Financing your own future means you have to know how to save and how to protect that savings."
"People are more empowered when they know how to avoid being scammed. Giving people information so they can protect themselves is, to me, very important."
"When you talk about poorer populations, it's about helping them understand ways they can help themselves."
The point is, financial literacy, or financial capability is not a monolithic thing that can be applied, released, or taught in one way to one group. When we talk about the lack of financial knowledge in the United States, we tend to debate:
The good news is there are many right answers.
The one thing most people agree on is that it should be taught, and that it requires more than just a transfer of knowledge. For some people, it may require knowledge and building new skills - practice to build comfort and confidence. For others it may mean unlearning bad habits. And for some it could mean a change in attitude - like choosing healthy eating over double cheeseburgers.
The reason there are so many different approaches to financial education is because there are many different audiences, with many different needs, and many different ideas about good solutions.
We can debate the specifics, the methods, and the media, but there is little debate about the need. It's why we are working every day to create new partnerships, research new ideas, share best practices, and develop new materials and innovative ways to deliver them.
What can you do about it?
How can you help promote financial education? Remember, there are no wrong answers.
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The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) has introduced for April 2014 a new certification course titled: Certified Young Adult Financial Specialist. It has been accepted by the CFP Board for 10 hours of continuing education credit as well as a variety of other professional organizations.
The ICFE's new CYAFS program is about teaching professionals to educate young adults. Young adults are more in need of financial education than ever before. There are more financial products and decisions to be made for their lives today and to plan for their future. The new Certified Young Adult Financial Specialist program educates trains and equips financial counselors to communicate their expertise in a way that young adults are able and willing to accept it.
President - Executive Director
Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE)
ICFE - Institute of Consumer Financial Education - ICFE.info - 619.239.1401