The sad state of financial literacy in the U.S.

Working The Phones

To celebrate Financial Literacy Month I, along with eight other advisors, volunteered to spend two hours answering personal finance questions in the Help Center at Channel 7. We fielded 110 calls during the two-hour event. Here's what I learned:

  1. People cannot answer basic personal finance questions. Based on the calls I fielded it's obvious our education system is not preparing people to manage their finances.
  2. Women are more likely to ask for help. Of the 12 calls I took, 11 of them were from women. Some of my colleagues had a more balanced experience, but overall the majority of calls were from women. This shouldn't surprise anyone because most men, myself included, don't like asking for directions even when we're hopelessly lost.
  3. Many people just want to talk to someone who will listen to them. Several of the callers continued to chat with me even after I answered their financial questions. I think they just wanted someone who would listen to them vent about the stress caused by their financial problems.
  4. Answering basic personal finance questions for a couple hours is a great way to sharpen one's skills. During the two-hour shift, I covered a wide array of topics, some of which I don't always to address with my existing clients. It was a good refresher course.

I had the opportunity to spend the day teaching these young ladies about financial planning and investing.

Take Our Daughters To Work Day 2018

Thursday, April 26th was Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. In addition to my two little girls, I was fortunate to have two of their friends, who are basically like daughters, join the fun.

We started the day with a lesson about what financial planning is. The girls really got into it once I created a hypothetical plan for one of them using my planning software. It quickly became clear that they think a weekly allowance will be enough to allow them to live comfortably.

Next, I had them pair up and work on entrepreneurial projects while I got some of my own work done. Hopefully, one day they will start their own businesses.

We wrapped up the day with a lesson about investing, which covered topics such as company stock, dividends, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, inflation, and diversification. I'm sure it wasn't the most exciting day for them, but they all asked good questions.

Maybe days like this will ensure they don't have to call a television station help center for financial advice.

Listening / Reading / Watching

Here's what has my attention right now:

  • Head On by John Scalzi. I had the pleasure of meeting Scalzi this week when he visited D.C. for a reading and book signing. He's one of my favorite sci-fi writers and you should definitely check out his books. I recommend starting with Lock In (Head Onis the sequel). If you prefer listening to audiobooks check out The Dispatcher, which is extremely fun and features a great performance by Zachary Quinto.
  • Westworld on HBO. Season two started last week and the robopocalypse continues!