Recently, a bipartisan budget was passed. It seemed like everyone was relieved except Paul Rand(R), a conservative deficit hawk. Over 300 billion was added to the deficit, with all parties complicit signing the bill in red ink. The citizens of this nation cannot look to the government as a role model of financial stewardship. Indeed, the public education system is devoid of financial education on almost every level. Add to this debacle, that thousands of financial advisers, insurance agents and fiduciaries have done little to educate the financially illiterate in this country.
In April of 2003, President George W. Bush inaugurated National Financial Literacy for Youth month. In 2006, The Financial Literacy and Education Commission issued a report entitled, “Taking Ownership of the Future: The National Strategy for Financial Literacy.” The report had several talking points supporting their outreach efforts and educational strategies for public awareness on topics such as credit, savings, and home ownership. The government’s heart might have been in the right place, but little has come of it.
Non-profit organizations like the Society for Financial Awareness have taken up the gauntlet on behalf of consumers to do what the government seemingly couldn’t do, and that is to educate the public on the basic tenets of money. As a 501(3)(c) The Society for Financial Awareness deploys hundreds of financial professionals who present thousands of public seminars each year since 1993.
The Society for Financial Awareness also works closely with the largest human resource group in the country, The Society of Human Resource Management or SHRM as it’s often referred to. SHRM has its own obligations to its employees who participant in employer sponsored retirement plans, i.e. they must offer mandatory 404(c) education to their plan participants.
With April approaching, the public’s attention will be towards taxes. But perhaps this year April can play a double role and generate awareness regarding the need for financial literacy.