ICFE eNEWS #14-08 - April 7th 2014
April is Financial Literacy Month. So What?
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:
- Where it should be taught - in schools or at home.
- When it should be taught - in elementary school, high
school, college, or on the job.
- How it should be taught - in workshops, online, games,
or over months of coaching sessions.
- Who should teach it - K-12 teachers, financial
professionals, money coaches, or radio and TV show hosts.
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
What can you do about it?
- If you have kids, talk about the family budget.
Encourage them to save a portion of their allowance to help
them build a savings habit and learn to set, and achieve,
financial goals. Ask them what they've learned in school
about money, or talk to their teachers.
- If you participate in clubs or church groups, invite a
local consumer group, credit counselor or financial planner
to speak. Download
free CFPB publications and share them with your group.
Volunteer to help others.
- If you own a business or have the ability to make
suggestions, consider a program to help employees understand
more about managing their money. Start an automatic
enrollment retirement plan or provide resources or referrals
to help employees plan for their futures.
How can you help promote financial education? Remember, there
are no wrong answers.
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Mailing List." Please pass this eNEWS on to your peers and
interested others and invite them to subscribe for free. Also,
visit the ICFE's new Web site:
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
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